Wed | Sep 19, 2018

UPDATED: Gleaner Editors' Forum | More non-lethal weapons to be incorporated into police force

Published:Friday | August 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson (left) introduces members of the newly formed Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB) to Dr. Horace Chang (center), Minister of National Security; Fitz Jackson (second left), Opposition Spokesman on National Security; and Calvin Allen, Senior Superintendent of Police. Occasion was Wednesday’s launch of PSTEB at Harman Barracks in St Andrew.

Integrating more non-lethal capabilities such as tasers into the police force is high on the agenda of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's top brass.

However, Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson is maintaining that the training component prior to introducing any element in the force is of paramount importance for it to be successful.

"You can't just buy things and give to people," stated Anderson during a Gleaner Editors' Forum at the company's North Street base yesterday.

"There has to be an understanding of who is responsible for them when the officer isn't wearing it. Who is it that charges it up when it needs charging? Who is it that maintains it? Where are they held? How do we account for them? What are the rules and standard operating procedures (SOP) in the use of them, and when do we teach that as we distribute to our officers?"

Anderson contended: "So there's a process to any capability. It doesn't have to be long, but it has to be precise. And so, even as we roll out new non-lethal things, we have to go through this training cycle, and training has to be a feature of the Jamaica Constabulary Force at all levels and around all things."

Anderson, who on Wednesday charged members of the newly formed Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB) to shape behaviour through a consistent approach to policing, also said that members would undergo training to use body cameras.

He pointed out that an order had already been made for additional cameras for PSTEB members as well as cameras to be reallocated to equip members of the new branch.

"We already have an SOP around it that we designed, but we have to also look at who keeps the information on the body camera. We have to look at how we back that up. Who can ask for it? What is the process of giving it to who asks for it? And how do we review it and use the footage in future training so we understand what officers are undergoing?" the commissioner reasoned.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com