Good job! - INDECOM praises security forces for 'low' reports of abuse in areas impacted by enhanced security measures
Soldiers and police personnel operating in communities blanketed by the ongoing state of public emergency (SOE) and zones of special operations (ZOSO) have earned high commendation from the agency established to monitor the conduct of members of the security forces.
At the same time, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has blasted the leadership of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), charging that years after it recommended disciplinary action against nearly 20 senior officers, those recommendations have been ignored.
Commissioner of INDECOM Terrence Williams revealed, during a press conference yesterday, that reports of abuse in areas under SOE or ZOSO "continue to be low". He did not provide any figures.
"I must say, this is quite commendable for the security forces. They have brought down crime in those areas and have brought a sense of control in those areas without much complaint about abuses," Williams told reporters.
The first ZOSO was declared in Mount Salem, St James, in September last year. Since then, an SOE has been imposed across the entire western parish as well as in the St Catherine North Police Division, and since Sunday, across the Kingston Western, St Andrew South, and Kingston Central police divisions.
The west Kingston community of Denham Town has also been declared a ZOSO.
... Disappointed on lack of action on senior officers reported to High Command
Amid the commendation, INDECOM boss Terrence Williams was critical of the Police High Command for ignoring INDECOM's recommendation to bring disciplinary action against the senior officers believed to have breached JCF procedures.
"It is not that they have the hearings and say, 'No, all these officers behaved properly'," he complained. "They have had no hearings. How can that be?"
Williams acknowledged that the cases did not meet the threshold for criminal charges to be laid against the officers.
"We thought that they breached procedures, so they must be treated to disciplinary action," he explained.
He said that the officers' names have been turned over to the Office of the Police Commissioner as well as to the Police Service Commission.
"We do not name officers in our reports because I don't want people to say we are unfair," the INDECOM boss explained.
He continued, "We cannot say because their [JCF] internal discipline is not working, we should charge every body. That would be unfair."