Wed | May 22, 2019

Gleaner Editors’ Forum | Police working to increase public confidence

Published:Friday | September 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Acting Assistant Commissioner McArthur Sutherland, head of the police Criminal Investigation Branch
Brian Schmidt, director of Crime Stop

Head of the police Criminal Investigations Branch, Acting Assistant Commissioner McArthur Sutherland, is noting that Jamaicans are much more inclined to give information on crimes but indicated that work is needed to solidify citizens' confidence in the police.

He was addressing a Gleaner Editors' Forum yesterday at the newspaper's North Street, Kingston offices, which zeroed in on Crime Stop's impact on Jamaica after 29 years of service.

"Citizens feel more comfortable communicating. They are a bit more assured. If they see that there is sustainability and good police initiatives, they will feel further assured and information will flow," he said.

Sutherland vowed that any policeman or woman who breached confidentiality would face disciplinary action.

"There is, in fact, a level of anxiety in the public space as it relates to confidentiality, and we are taking that on very seriously. In a police force as big as ours - that covers the entire island - you will find confidentiality breaches. However, one critical component is that we would take action, whether disciplinary or at orderly room level. If it is a criminal breach, we would deal with it."

He emphasised that not every police officer has access to extremely sensitive information.

"Certain information on sensitive cases is not accessible to every [police officer]. We are now looking at improving what I call the footprint on the system to ensure we have date and time stamps, as well as activity logs, to ensure we know who accessed the system, and we will also know what they did," he said.

Director of Crime Stop, Brian Schmidt, assured Jamaicans that if they were ever in doubt, they should call Crime Stop.

"This is precisely why Crime Stop remains relevant [after 29 years]. If someone feels they are not comfortable talking to the authorities, we have provided an outlet for them that has never been compromised - an outlet that keeps them anonymous."