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Trust between citizens, cops improving - church leader

Published:Tuesday | September 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer

Building trust between the citizens of Jamaica and the the police force has been a common goal of appointees to the post of commissioner of police over the past decade, starting with Lucius Thomas in 2005.

Following the instalment of Dr Carl Williams as Jamaica's 28th commissioner of police yesterday, Bishop Conrad Pitkin, chairman of the Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Churches, said he was confident that Williams, based on his track record, could achieve the goal.

"I think that Commissioner Williams will do a good job, as he's coming to the office with goodwill and it seems as if he is looking out for the best for the country, which is exactly what Jamaica needs," Pitkin told The Gleaner.

"He must now use that to the benefit of his own leadership and to the police force on a whole."

Pitkin also said he believed the trust between citizens and the police force has been improving over the years.

"I believe that the trust has improved. There are sporadic incidents that reflect negatively on the police force, but I don't think those incidents should be used to write off the entire force," he said.

Cops can't do it alone

"I think that sometimes we expect that the police alone can fight, and it is not so. It is important that the citizens be a part of crime fighting and it is also important that the police do everything in their power to ensure that there is a good relationship between the police force and the citizens of the country," Pitkin continued.

He further noted that the Church was committed to working with the police force to bring about a better understanding between the police and citizens.

"I would encourage Williams to be open, honest and transparent in order to maintain the goodwill that he has developed over the years with the country," Pitkin stated.

"He must communicate with the people from time to time about their issues so that it can be seen that he is the leader that will reduce crime to as close to zero as possible. We don't expect it to be zero, but we expect it to be at a manageable position. Once it is at that point, there will definitely be more trust between the people of this country and the police," he added.