Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Don't expect immediate fix to crime woes

Published:Wednesday | May 27, 2015 | 5:00 AMGary Spaulding
Professor Anthony Clayton: They have started reviewing the implementation process. But it's early days. It will be a couple months or so before we see the tangible signs of progress.

Professor Anthony Clayton, Alcan professor of the Institute of Sustainable Development, is warning that his recommendations in the Strategic Review of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) contain no quick fixes for the nation's crime woes.

Clayton yesterday urged Jamaicans to be patient, as his recommendations, aimed at shooting down troubling homicide rates in the country, will not yield immediate results.

"There are really substantial proposed changes that are going to slash the homicide rates," he said.

Clayton told The Gleaner yesterday that he has been in touch with the Ministry of National Security and was able to assure Jamaicans that work was being done to advance his report.

"They have started reviewing the implementation process," he said. "But it's early days. It will be a couple months or so before we see the tangible signs of progress."

Murders have climbed to in excess of 430 for the first five months of 2015, with Jamaica constantly ranked as one of the countries with the highest levels of crime in the world.

Clayton stressed that the review was too wide-ranging to be taken at superficial value.

"We looked at all areas of policing operations and a large number of calls for changes, some more important than others," he stressed.

"It constitutes a substantial reprioritisation that calls for a major redeployment of assets to reduce the rate of homicide, so it will take time," he added.

Clayton was engaged by the Peter Bunting-led National Security Ministry in late 2014 to conduct an organisational review of the JCF.

SEEKING TO IMPROVEEFFICIENCY

The main recommendations in the report are aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of policing in Jamaica, including the allocation of more resources for preventative policing, by reassigning resources from the non-geographical formations to the geographic divisions.

The larger non-geographic formations comprise units such as Mobile Reserve, Transnational Crime and Narcotics Division, Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID), the Flying Squad; Protective Services, and Motorised Patrol.

Clayton recommended that this reallocation of resources be carried out through mergers and downsizing of some non-geographical units that will incorporate the amalgamation of OCID and the Flying Squad.

Other recommendations include the merger of the Kingston and St Andrew Major Investigation Task Force (MIT) as well as the St Catherine MIT, which will be downsized significantly, resulting in the redeployment of the majority of the detectives to geographic divisions in the Corporate Area and St Catherine.

The return of murder investigators to geographic divisions will be geared at significantly increasing divisional capacity to clear up murder cases.

Bunting has said that in keeping with one of Clayton's recommendations, a review is being done of the deployment of personnel at the VIP Protection Division as the JCF has deviated from the criteria for the assignment of CPOs to VIPs, resulting in a considerable growth in the division.

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com