Wed | Jan 17, 2018

JaRistotle’s Jottings | If I were the police chief

Published:Saturday | August 26, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Commissioner of Police George Quallo salutes his men and women in the parade on Friday, April 28.

The best footballer, the best cricketer, the best player is always the spectator. And so this week, I am the best commissioner of police there could be. Mark you, I am blessed with 20:20 vision, also called hindsight, and I have foresight, although the incumbent may have more insight.

Commissioner Quallo has had a fairly rough start to his tenure as the chief crime-prevention officer, some wounds being self-inflicted as in his flop - supporting the controversial findings of the administrative review of the police operations during the Tivoli incursion. Now he has flipped his flop and is accepting the report of the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry.

Let us not act too surprised at his initial position. Mr Quallo has spent a lifetime serving the police force. He is steeped in the group think and bureaucracy of the force, making it difficult to counter the opinions and position of his 'constituents', his fellow officers.

So here comes Commissioner JaRistotle, no connection to the force, no secrets to hold me ransom, no tail wagging the dog, no subjectivity of tenure.

My stewardship would be premised on 'All Lives Matter', and my main priority would be to implement a system of accountability throughout the force. However, I must first understand the policing system, the existing challenges, and where the force is failing to serve and protect.

I would need to analyse the statistics relating to murders, serious crimes, motor vehicle accidents and corruption within the force. I would visit each area command to see the conditions and issues for myself and relate what I observe to the analyses. This would establish a realistic foundation on which to develop specific targets for the area commanders, such targets to include reductions in road accidents and fatalities, improvements in police and community relations, enforcement of ordinances and reduction of corruption and, of course, reductions in murders. I would expect the area commanders to likewise develop targets for their subordinate commanders.

I would also steer them towards preventive and protective strategies and remind them that police officers are not revenue-collection agents; they serve to protect. If vehicles are being operated in a dangerous and reckless manner, seize them and prevent possible accidents. Ticketing is secondary; prevention is better than cure. If people litter, let them clean up the mess. No servants to clean up after them. Basically, the area commanders would need to make their jurisdictions inhospitable for criminals and other lawbreakers. Arrest, charge and place them before the courts - the more the merrier.

The area commanders would be given specific timelines to produce a plan and to start producing results. In the interim, I would randomly visit the areas, paying attention to the following:

The condition of vehicles on the roads, especially overladen vehicles;

The behaviour of drivers on the roads, especially in the accident hotspots;

The number of police personnel involved in illicit activities and the sanctions imposed;

The general cleanliness of the public spaces;

The visibility of the police on the roads and in public spaces;

The number of prosecutions for violations, including non-payment of fines;

The number of convictions;

The crime statistics, especially murders.

Those who fail would have to call it a day, pack up and go home, as would their failing subordinate commanders. No time for wasters. Following behind them would be all the corruption-tainted officers who they failed to sanction. So, too, would go the lame and lazy and the political activists.

I would not feel any remorse regarding my actions, knowing that I had given them the opportunity to make their mark. The message would then be clear. No room in the inn for anything but quality service and first-class protection for the people of Jamaica. Who want fi protest can go get dem day in court, but not in my force. As top dog, I wag the tail.

Wake up, JaRistotle! A commissioner and a police force beyond manipulation and actually preventing crime, reining in well-connected criminal puppetmasters and associated 'shottas', curtailing extortionist influence over communities! Is this what the politicos want? Do we, as a nation, have the testicular fortitude to make such a move and stick with it?

Let's hope so, otherwise dog nyam wi supper.

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