“The first step in fighting crime is to expose political corruption and reform the police force.”
By Toraino Beckford.
In order to effectively fight crime in Jamaica, the nation must possess a trusted and dependable police force free from corruption, inadequacy and other conflicts of interest. The nation’s crime fighting agents must be verified to be of good mental health and have full allegiance to the people of Jamaica and the law which governs us all.
Due to the fact that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is stained by a long history of questionable policing, the trust that many sectors of society have in the JCF is irreparably damaged. In order for the nation’s police force to operate at its optimum capacity, it must be rebranded and resold to the Jamaican people. Jamaica’s unique cultural construct consists of a distrust for authority which mostly manifests itself in the form of an “anti informa” culture. In order to combat this “anti- informa” culture and increase the public’s trust and cooperation with the police, the JCF as an organization needs to be dismantled.
REBRANDING OUR POLICE FORCE
In order to rebrand the police force to shake off the overseer (backra) stigma, the JCF must be restructured and renamed the Jamaica Police Department (JPD). By changing its uniforms and the general colour coding, the newly established police force will be given a fresh start with the Jamaican people. JCF members should be gradually transferred to the newly emerging police force after undergoing rigorous background checks and psychological analysis to prevent undesirable officers from decreasing the general standard of Jamaican policing. There are three general requirements which individual officers will be subjected to before being transferred over to the JPD.
1) Good Mental Health- Officers joining the JPD must be verified to have good mental health which means rage addiction, psychosis, suicidal nihilism and other mental disorders which tend to crowd professions of this nature should be weeded out. All officers must undergo immediate counseling after killing, before being allowed back on duty because the act of killing is traumatic and unnatural and should negatively affect mentally balanced individuals. All officers suspected of becoming desensitized to killing MUST immediately be removed from frontline duty because government agents must be able to appreciate the sacredness of all human life or they are unfit to serve the people of Jamaica.
2) Adequate Policing Capacity-Independent of good mental health, officers must possess the capacity to adequately police the streets. Common sense, intuition, foresight and bravery are important crime fighting characteristics which must be present to some degree in Jamaican police officers in order for it to be considered that they possess adequate policing capacity.
3) Allegiance to the Law and the People- This requirement refers to the legal status of the officer, whether that officer is law abiding, partially corrupt or fully corrupt. Officers who unquestionable follow the orders of their superiors even if those orders are criminal should be classified as pledging his allegiance not to the people or the law but to his superiors, which in its very nature is corrupt. Officers owe a duty only to the people of Jamaica and the law that governs us all and therefore have no obligation to be faithful to any informal police code or any police or political superior.
Those characteristics should be used to assess individual police officers which should be gradually transferred to the newly established police force, the Jamaica Police Department (JPD) until the ranks of the JCF is cleared out and the JPD emerges as the primary police force in the country.
– To prevent the JPD from gradually adopting the shortcomings of the JCF, pragmatic internal regulations must be established. A structured complains and demerit system must be established to reward and penalize officers based on their record of performance.
– The JPD should be afforded an up-to-date forensics and ballistics departments to better assess crime scene evidence and to help secure more prosecutions.
-The officers of the newly formed JPD must be given adequate salaries to assure their devotion to their duty and to decrease their predisposition to corruption. They must also receive adequate institutional funding, equipment and armament to pursue their duties with efficiency and confidence.
-Officers of the newly formed JPD should be specially trained in people skills, how to defuse a situation, the preservation of a crime scene, the collection of evidence and how to argue evidence in court to cement a prosecutions.
-Officers of the JPD should be able to address white collar and political crimes in the same way as street crimes, with arrests and prosecutions. If we are genuinely serous about creating a crime free Jamaica, how can we accomplish that being led by criminals. Thus, until we see politicians going to prison just like poor people do everyday, the system is flawed.