Mon | Jan 20, 2020

Manpower shortage cramps St Ann police

Published:Wednesday | January 15, 2020 | 12:12 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer

The St Ann Police Division is facing an “acute shortage of personnel”, a departmental document leaked to The Gleaner has shown.

Commander of the division, Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Small, declined to comment on the issue.

The internal document sees Small directing subofficers from the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) to conduct station and section supervision in the event no regular officer is available.

In the memorandum, Small said that the acute shortage of police personnel at stations and sections frequently resulted in challenges in having subofficers assigned on shifts to supervise activities, especially at stations.

SUPERVISION DUTIES

The document, which was copied to senior officers in the division, said that no constable should be detailed to perform supervision duties at any station while a subofficer from the CIB was on duty.

The memorandum also said that action was being taken to establish accountability at stations and sections during shifts.

It is unclear how severe the shortage of police personnel in St Ann is. On a cruise ship day in Ocho Rios, additional police officers are needed to police the town and, especially, the two shipping ports.

It is also unclear to what extent the shortage is affecting investigations of criminal cases.

Last year, St Ann recorded 52 murders, an eight per cent rise over the 48 recorded in 2018. At the same time, serious crimes, which also include shooting, robbery, larceny, rape, aggravated assault and break-ins, declined to 308 in 2019, compared to 325 for the previous year.

The police force loses about 500 members annually, with attrition mainly attributed to resignation, retirement, and death.

In July 2019, there were 11,790 listed police officers in the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

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