Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Earn public trust, commish charges new police unit

Published:Thursday | August 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Members of the newly formed Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force at the official launch yesterday at Harman Barracks in Vineyard Town, St Andrew.

Describing as "pioneers" the roughly 700 men and women who make up the newly formed Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB), Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson has charged each to lead the continued transformation of the police force into one with a high level of public trust and confidence.

The entity, a merger of the Traffic and Highway Division and the Motorized Patrol Division, is aimed at restoring and maintaining public order, traffic enforcement, reducing crime in public spaces, and increasing public support.

At the launch of the PSTEB at Harman Barracks in Vineyard Town, St Andrew, yesterday, Anderson charged members of the branch to be consistent in their approach to policing, arguing that it will help to shape behaviour.

"We need to be consistent with our enforcement, uniformed in the way we treat with matters. If we're like that, we can become more and more trusted, the confidence in us will grow, and we will shape behaviour by this consistent action," the police commissioner stated.

"Initially, I suspect we will see an increase in the number of tickets given, the number of prosecutions, but over time, if we're doing our jobs right, that should fall off as people conform with what the requirements of the law and regulations are."

The branch, which will initially roll out in the Corporate Area, St Catherine, and major resort towns, will comprise three divisions - Public Safety, Highway and Safety Patrol and Traffic Enforcement.

Officers assigned to the unit underwent training in human rights and situational awareness, among other areas, and will be outfitted in high-visibility (neon yellow) gear, making them easily identifiable.

"With high visibility, there needs to be high accessibility. So, we need to be more accessible to the public. We need high approachability, so we need to be more approachable. We need to be seen and [to] be the go-to people for whatever concerns the public has on safety issues, on security issues, and I dare say, as our presence becomes more and more felt out there, the public will be coming to us for just about everything, but that is what it means to be a force for good," Anderson charged.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com