Thu | May 23, 2019

JCF's challenges not insurmountable, says Commissioner

Published:Friday | May 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson

A deliberate and strategic approach is necessary to meet the challenges that abound in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), says Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson.

These challenges, he said, are not insurmountable but would require internal realignment to get the force to be a more agile organisation able to bring to bear its full weight on the process of investigations, and, ultimately, convictions of those found guilty under the law.

"The JCF, indeed, has some challenges, but these are not insurmountable. We just need to take a deliberate and strategic approach to meet those challenges and to get better outcomes," Anderson recently told The Gleaner.

"It's not something that you will see the difference within three weeks, in which we would end up with a totally new JCF. That is unrealistic and ridiculous. But what we can do is to deliberately improve things, and we already have the raw material to do this," the police commissioner stated.

Increased criticism

In recent years, the JCF, as an organisation, has come under increased criticism for how some of its members operate. The organisation has been lambasted in some quarters for its failure to effectively manage the runaway murder rate, which has resulted in 1,616 people being killed in 2017. Last year, the western parish of St James reported 335 murders, by far the most of the 19 police divisions.

Adding to the flurry of criticism is the notion that the force is inherently corrupt. However, Anderson believes that the only way to change the public's perception is for the JCF to become effective and thorough in carrying out its duties.

"It is only wise to deal with the low-hanging fruits first in order to do better. We need to be a lot more agile in what we do as the JCF to get better outcomes in the battle against crime, violence, and general public disorder," Anderson stated.

"In the interim, of course, we still have to disrupt and do all the other necessary operational things, but, ultimately, it is going to be about the quality of investigations and getting people behind bars who need to be there. That will change certain perspectives of the force," Anderson said.

He said that the signs were there that the force was in good shape, pointing to the cadre of nine finalists in the Lasco Top Cop competition, which was won by Constable Davian Martin. The police commissioner said that this was an indication of the good people who existed within the force.