Commish backs Chang - Security minister gets support from top cop for shakeup of JCF
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang has been backed by Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson, who, too, is adamant that change must come to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) if the issues of crime and violence are to be brought under control.
But even in the same breath of touting change, the police commissioner is contending that there is not much appreciation for the challenges associated with reforming an organisation as large as the JCF.
There are approximately 12,000 officers in uniform supported by 3,000 civilians in the JCF, who deliver roughly 20 services to over 200 outlets across the country.
Major General Anderson said historically, the JCF has not had back-end support, which leads to challenges in operating under the current framework, as the organisation has evolved.
He said that although aware of some of the challenges of the JCF, there exist others which are more apparent from within the force.
"What I saw from outside, perhaps, has some endemic things embedded in culture. However, there are some things playing out that are actually embedded in the structure, as oppose to culture. And when those things come together, that is when you really have the problems we have," Major General Anderson said.
He was speaking at the annual banquet of the Calabar Old Boys Association held at the Mona Visitor's Lodge in St Andrew on the weekend.
TALENT BEING HELD BACK
Last week, Chang made it clear that dramatic changes were needed to restructure the 300-year-old JCF, which he said was birthed out of a "glorified security guard system".
And in the face of uproar from head of the Jamaica Police Federation, the union representing rank and file members in the JCF, Chang explained that the JCF in its current state, "does not have the structure and institutional agility required to ensure maximum output and efficiency from our officers".
In like manner, the country's police chief said the JCF will have to be trusted and credible if Jamaica is to realise better results in tackling crime and violence.
"It is critical if we are going to get the outcomes we want. That is central to the success in dealing with this whole crime issue," Major General Anderson argued.
The police commissioner told attendees at the banquet that "there is huge talent, huge talent [in the JCF], but it is not being realised as it could be because it is stuck."
In looking forward to the anticipated changes in the police force, Major General Anderson said there must be all of Government and "almost national" consensus on the changes, though he admitted the latter might be a challenge.
"It's difficult, because even though we are a small country, people's realities are very different, depending on where you live and where you operate," he noted.
"So whatever we do has to be comprehensive, involved, collaborative, but with the single understanding of the problem and how we go about solving it," Major General Anderson urged, though lamenting his observation to "a generally numbness" to crime.
The administration is currently in the process of drafting legislation to introduce a new police service to replace the JCF.