Gleaner Editors' Forum | I have not been silent; I’ve been working, explains Commish
Five months into his tenure as commissioner of police, Major General Antony Anderson is making it clear that he has been hard at work strengthening his team's capacity and putting in place the necessary groundwork for the successful execution of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) operations.
Explaining his perceived silence since taking over the force's top job in March, when George Quallo left the post, Anderson said that pressing public concerns about the spiralling murder rate have required his full attention.
"So I have been in for five months, and the first thing you have to do when coming into the job is to pay attention to the most pressing concerns in the public space, which at the time, was the rate of murders. We were trending downwards, but we were still above last year," stated Anderson.
Yesterday, he told the panel at a Gleaner Editors' Forum at the media house's North Street, Kingston, office that his first order of business upon assuming the role as the new commissioner was to get the murder rate under control by addressing all the major crimes.
"The second thing is the whole business of lawlessness on the roads, in public spaces, and what was happening in public transportation. To this end, we had to find a solution, and that was to build the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB)," said Anderson.
In addition, the former military man noted that as someone who came to the JCF from the outside, he accepted that he did not know everything about the organisation even though he had spent a career close to it.
"There's still a lot to learn when you come in, and, obviously, you want to see how much talent there is, where it is, and why it is that the public feel the way they do about the JCF. I had to understand that and what concerns the police officers internally also," Anderson said.
The commissioner said that having the springboard in place from which to launch an effective onslaught against criminality and public disorder is vital to the success of the JCF.
"You have to then deal with the matters most concerning to the public, which is public disorder, after you deal with major crime, and get a team together to actually build a unit, collapse two units, bring in other people, train some people, get bike riders, get in the bikes and all of that to hit September," he said of the newly-formed PSTEB, which was launched on Wednesday.
"And the only way you are going to do that is really to engage the people who know, which are the people inside the force. So over that period, we had to get crime down. I had to understand the force. I don't have the level of arrogance to assume that I know anything without finding out, and now we have hit that. What I have been is busy."