JaRistotle’s Jottings | Crime Management 101 (Part 1)
I have been digesting the commentary regarding the crime conundrum which has been coming from multiple sectors of our society, including the Opposition and the private sector. It is good that more voices are speaking out, but talk is easy. Actions speak louder than words.
There is no denying that we have a national crisis which, if not appropriately addressed, will have much more far-reaching implications for the country than we currently realise. Although Jamaica was not included in the infamous reference to 's***hole' countries allegedly made by US President Donald Trump, if the crime issue is not appropriately addressed, the country may end up being viewed as such by more than just President Trump. Need I say more?
Sustainable solutions to the crisis extend beyond the political and security realms to every sector of our society. It therefore spells good sense to garner multisectoral support in identifying the core issues and generating solutions.
Analysing the problem
When a business organisation wishes to reinvent itself, there are various approaches that may be utilised to get an unbiased picture of its operating environment and its true standing within that environment. Our approach to the crime crisis demands a similar approach. We must understand the issues from all the relevant perspectives before we can begin to develop, much less implement meaningful solutions. Identifying and understanding the what, why, who, where, and when are fundamental to determining the how of the solution. This is the same approach taken by doctors who, faced with symptoms of an illness, must conduct a clinical examination to determine the causes before they can prescribe a reasonable course of treatment.
A PEST-EL analysis examines the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal perspectives of an organisation's operating environment to identify the respective issues that must be addressed. In the context of our crime crisis, the involvement of interests from all the relevant sectors is critical if we are to achieve objectivity. I also find the analogy quite apt under the circumstances, since crime is a PEST we wish to eradicate.
Critical outcomes of the process must be geared towards managing crime: identifying the core causative factors on the one hand, as well as issues stymying national capacity to reduce crime and maintain the rule of law.
This has to be a no-holds-barred undertaking. As a starting point, we need to acknowledge that the problem exists across all sectors, and that individuals in each and every sector have, at one time or another, and in varying forms, been a part of the problem. That said, it should not be seen as a blame game, but rather as a truth and reconciliation undertaking, where the participation of each sector allows it to be an indelible part of our solution to our problem. In other words, if certain practices within a particular sector are identified as being contributory to the problem, it must be seen as an opportunity to abolish that practice. The multisectoral approach further lends to the objectivity, in that no one sector is solely involved and can therefore whitewash its respective sectoral shortcomings, and the other sectors, being aware, can later hold others to account for failure to correct those shortcomings.
It goes without saying that the Government remains responsible for addressing national issues. In the context of national security, including crime management, the National Security Council (NSC), under the chairmanship of the prime minister, is accountable. Any committee or task force established to address the crime crisis must therefore account to the NSC. It also goes without saying that the portfolio minister is responsible for articulating policy as the basis for strategy development and operational implementation by the commissioner of police.
The best solutions to multidimensional problems reflect multidimensional perspectives. In this regard, consideration should be given to a parallel to the Economic Growth Council, as in a crime management initiative which accounts to the NSC, with representation from the political, social, economic, and security sectors in particular, along with other interest sectors. Environmental watchdogs, the technology industry, the National Integrity Action, regulatory agencies: their
input is crucial to identifying and understanding the underlying issues and perspectives.
Coming up in Part 2: How do political factors facilitate the proliferation of crime and stymie national capacity to reduce crime and maintain the rule of law?