Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Bet on Novelette - Acting police commissioner poised to be appointed to lead the Force full time

Published:Sunday | February 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Acting Police Commissioner Novelette Grant (right) with members of the Police High Command, (from left) DCP Clifford Blake. DCP George Quallo and ACP Clifford Chambers, following a recent media briefing.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) seems set to get its first female commissioner in its 150th year of operation.

Sunday Gleaner sources say the Police Service Commission is poised to announce that Acting Police Commissioner Novelette Grant has been selected to lead the Force. That announcement is expected shortly.

"Ms Grant was appointed to act in the post but it appears that it was a test run and she has passed with flying colours," one source told our news team.

"She has always enjoyed the respect of her colleagues, but in the time she has been acting she has convinced most persons that she has the mojo for the job. She is firm and fair and every member of the Force has seen her in action with her morning messages."

At least 20 persons applied for the job of police commissioner after the January 6 resignation of Dr Carl Williams, who was the 28th commissioner of the JCF.

The Police Service Commission had given persons interested in the post until January 23 to apply, before extending the application period to February 6.

But since the application period closed there has been no word from the commission, which is chaired by Professor Gordon Shirley.

"The commission is taking its time before making the announcement, but it is clear that Ms Grant has checked all the boxes, including those set by (National Security Minister Robert) Montague, who has no right to intervene in the process," said the Sunday Gleaner source.

Montague had told the nation that the new commissioner would be employed under a contract with specific performance targets and must come to the job with a plan to tackle Jamaica's crime situation.

"Ms Grant is very good at that. You must remember that she once headed the Professional Standards Branch, she was once the commander for an area that included Spanish Town, and she fully understands the administration of the Force and can get Jamaicans to buy into her vision to fight crime," added the source.

In 2014, Grant was appointed deputy commissioner in charge of administration, becoming the second woman in the history of the JCF to be named to that rank in the Force.

Before that, Grant served as commander for Police Area 5, which covers the divisions of St Andrew North, St Catherine North and South, and St Thomas.

She also served at JCF Staff College, where she was part of the development of the senior strategic management course designed for assistant commissioners and senior superintendents who operate at the strategic level of the Force.

Since being appointed to act for 90 days, Grant has had to deal with an increase in murders when compared to last year, wide-scale panic over fake stories of horrific crimes across the island, and growing demands for urgent action to reduce the murder toll.

She has responded in a calm and deliberate manner while pointing out that she cannot work miracles to reduce murders, and that it will need the action of all Jamaicans to fight the crime monster.

The acting commissioner has also introduced 'Operation Clean Sweep' to restore order to some public spaces, and has introduced 'Love Me To Live, Don't Love Me To Death' as a call for all Jamaicans to partner for the prevention of domestic violence, which accounts for approximately 30 per cent of the murders recorded across the island each year.