Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Urgent help needed for police and soldiers

Published:Monday | February 1, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Women constables at their graduation parade.
Newly trained soldiers are seen at Up Park Camp on graudation from the Jamaica Defence Force Technical Training Institute in this 2012 Gleaner photo.

Every problem has an expiration date, and, in life, one should never make a permanent decision based on a temporary situation. It is most distressing and even embarrassing each time there is a news break that a member of the security force has shot and killed his or her spouse and then turned the gun on him or herself. In addition to that, such action will cause many parents to discourage their daughters from connecting in any way with those in the armed or security forces!

Relationship issues are no respecter of persons, especially as it affects those in highly stressful work environments. While soldiers are trained to function under pressure and are taught to be emotionally hard, when temptations and disagreements come, they should realise that their families are not the true enemies, and should seek immediate help. They should never allow their pride to destroy their lives and the lives of others. There are many avenues available to get help:

- Civilian pastors;

- Force or military chaplains;

- Commissioned and non-commissioned officers;

- Family members;

- Respected individuals in the community.

Those close to our armed services or police force - both at work and at home - must quickly discern when there are issues and report them to the authorities at their place of work; and those in authority should not be quick to discharge them or allow them to have loss of pay. Oftentimes, it is, in fact, financial issues that are at the root of their problems. In other cases, it could be insecurity. Most, because of the long hours away from their families, dread the very thought of infidelity taking place with their spouses, and their colleagues would mercilessly taunt them if that should happen. Others are fearful of not sexually satisfying their spouses as a result of the stressful situations within which they work. Most times, their spouses are unable to deal with their transition from civilian to military or force lifestyle, and often feel trapped and in bondage, particularly since those in the military or force have been trained in intelligence gathering. So oftentimes, the spouse would confide in someone who they don't realise has the wrong motive, and that ultimately leads to infidelity, which, in many cases, can lead to fatalities.

I have always said - and this is only my personal view - there is no way military personnel should be on the streets for long periods carrying out police work. Soldiers are trained to kill. To have soldiers for long periods of time carrying out patrol duties can lead to more stress and frustration. Many of them don't have the patience to handle civil matters on that scale because that was not their training.




There is a global neglect of security personnel. Most, after they serve, are put out on the street, some fall on hard times, and some need and are without medical attention. Others find it hard to transition back to civilian life.

There are many things that can be done to help our military and police personnel reduce fatalities - whether they are currently serving or not.

- Have more spiritual support; have devotions on base for soldiers and police personnel.

- More rest, recreation and relaxation for members and their families together.

- Duty-free opportunities for members bringing in their barrels and so on at the airports.

- Work experience in the public or private sector for those who are close to retirement. This will help them to transition.

- Have free education at all levels for the children of our soldiers and police personnel.

- Utilise the reserves to carry out all duties the regular forces would carry out on the weekends so as to allow the regular soldiers to rest.

- Have better scheduling of police personnel and implement or increase volunteer policing or home guards utilising ex-members and business professionals to reduce the work pressure on police personnel.

- Companies should reach out by assisting security personnel with spa treatments (for relaxation), groceries, time at our beautiful resorts for themselves and their families, and set up more exchange programmes with our international allies and partners to train overseas. There can be two-week training sessions, gaining working knowledge and learning about different cultures.

- Increase housing loans for members to acquire homes, and allow them easier access for that. The living standards of those who have chosen to risk life and limb in these professions are below what we would willingly accept.

There are many who would quickly criticise the security forces of the nation as corrupt. Do they know what they have to undergo, especially in a failed society? Do they know what they have to work with - the lack of resources all-round and the treatment they undergo?

- Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.