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US partnership hopes to strengthen puclic trust in the JCF

Published:Friday | November 14, 2014 | 12:00 AMAndrew Harris

Commissioner of Police Carl Williams is urging the men and women of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to get it right when dealing with members of the public.

His call came yesterday during a less lethal force training course for police officers at the National Police College of Jamaica in Twickenham Park, St Catherine, held in partnership with the US government.

"This is our best chance to get it right this time around," said Williams, not only as it relates to members of the public but "so you can also train the men and women on the front line".

With the police still being accused of abusing the rights of Jamaicans, the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, funding through its Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, has invested US$2.4 million, providing more than 7,000 sets of equipment to the members of the JCF on front-line duties.

A total of 26 members were chosen to take part in the training course, which aims mainly to train the officers to deal with citizens in a less hostile manner and reduce excessive levels of applied force when they come in contact with unlawful citizens.

Each member of the JCF will be issued with a utility belt, a retractable baton and a pair of handcuffs upon the completion of the course tomorrow.

National Security Minister Peter Bunting, who was also present yesterday, said the intent of the course is to strengthen public trust in the police.

"If we hope to solve the problem of crime, we have to strengthen the relationship between the police and the citizens," said Bunting.

"The vision is really to control crime in such a way that the unnecessary fatalities don't happen. If we can strengthen the relationship with the police and the citizens, then our problem of solving crime becomes much easier," he said.