Money is not all, senior cop tells colleagues
A senior police commander has cautioned rank-and-file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), who are pressing the Government for better pay, that it "cannot be all about money".
Senior Superintendent of Police Carl Ferguson, commanding officer for the St Andrew South Division, made it clear that he was sympathetic towards the economic plight of rank-and-file police personnel but urged them to look at the bigger picture.
"God forbid! What if any of our family members, our friends, or even an unsuspecting law-abiding citizen, going about their lawful business, is attacked and injured? How would we reconcile that?" Ferguson questioned.
"I am sympathetic to the cause, but at the end of the day, good sense must prevail. There is a bigger thing to think about, and that is the security of our nation," he pleaded.
The St Andrew South Police Division, which has seen its murder rate almost double this year, was one of the hardest hit yesterday as the sick-out by rank-and-file policemen and women continued for a fourth day.
Ferguson revealed that 104 policemen and women assigned across the division called in sick yesterday, a slight improvement over the 117 who were "sick" the previous day.
The St Andrew South Police Division has recorded 155 murders since January 1, an increase of just over 90 per cent when compared with the 83 recorded for the corresponding period last year. But according to Ferguson, only one of those killings occurred since the sick-out started.
"Yes, our numbers would have fallen significantly over the last few days, but we have still managed to police our hotspots. We are coping under the circumstances," he insisted.
There has been no word from the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file policemen and women, on the sick-out, the second since it began negotiating with the Government for a new two-year wage agreement.
The federation has since rejected two offers from the Government, each for a six per cent increase over the two-year contract period.
Insiders revealed that during the second wave of sick-outs, which began on December 23, police personnel from different divisions would be calling in sick for periods of between five and 10 days.
The Police Traffic Division and the Motorised Patrol Division, both located at Elletson Road in Kingston, as well as the Half-Way Tree Police Station, were some of the police formations hardest hit by the sick-out yesterday.
The Police High Command, in acknowledging the sick-out, said it was forcing other members of the JCF to work longer hours.