Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Phillips calls for JCF reform, restructuring of informal communities

Published:Monday | January 23, 2017 | 1:00 AMJason Cross
From left: Ruel Reid, minister of education, youth and information; Dr Peter Phillips; acting Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant; and National Security Minister Robert Montague at the launch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force 150th anniversary celebrations on Thursday at Toyota Jamaica, St Andrew.

One-time national security minister Peter Phillips is making a strong appeal for the urgent restructuring of informal and practically inaccessible communities across Jamaica.

He stresses that the existing situation hinders the police's access to these communities to efficiently carry out their duties.

Phillips, who is also the opposition spokesperson on finance, was speaking at the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) 150th anniversary celebration on Thursday at Toyota Jamaica, St Andrew.

He touched on a number of issues contributing to the escalation of crime, including the heavy burden citizens put on the police, believing that the security forces are solely responsible for the terrible crime situation.

He suggested that policymakers need to work to ensure the participation of all.

"You cannot adequately police communities that are purely informal settlements that don't have a place for a car, not to mention a patrol car, used or new. It will involve adjustments to be made in the way we lay out our communities," he said.

"All of us, the society, loads the JCF with expectations that cannot be satisfied by the JCF because the response must be a society-wide response. There are so many areas requiring a response by society as a whole, and quite frankly, the mobilisation of that response is the responsibility of the policymakers."

IN NEED OF URGENT REFORM

Phillips emphasised that the JCF is in need of urgent reform in order for it to attain and maintain its grasp on crime in a globally and technologically advanced world.

"We are facing serious crime, transnational crime for the most part, that is inevitable in today's globalised world. We are facing crime aided and abetted by technologies that change minutely. In this atmosphere, it is essential that the JCF reform itself. It is not an event, but, really, a process," he noted.

"It is a process that must continue as the world changes. As long as our national reality changes, the JCF will have to adapt and prove itself adept at being able to manage new challenges. We talk about economic growth and the need we have for it, but quite frankly, we cannot achieve our potential in an atmosphere of lawlessness or insecurity."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com