Tue | Jan 24, 2017

Don't deploy cops like McGregor all over Jamaica

Published:Saturday | March 28, 2015 | 12:00 AM

"We want McGregor! Him set the trend and a bring back the peace inna West Kingston!" one woman shouted as crowds demonstrated against the impending removal of the superintendent.

I attended one street meeting of Superintendent Steve McGregor some time ago in Kingston East and I gathered from his approach that he gets people to police themselves by allowing them to see the good of doing or behaving in a certain way. Subtle collective punishment was also integrated in his approach.

He has the skills of any inner-city don, but what it is he uses is a sociologically based holistic approach, understanding the culture and way of life of the people. Simply put, he is a tough police pragmatist.

The transfer contemplated for SSP McGregor to St James may just be a sign of desperation. What is really needed is an intensification of community policing, taking time, like any successful politician, to know and understand the needs of these people; becoming a friend and reliable confidant of the people, because many murders are domestic or gang-related; and nipping the problem in the bud is absolutely important, or else we would be constantly chasing our tails.

There needs to be the reintroduction of home-grown district constables who are not moved from their home districts, say, from Bethel Town to Whithorn in Westmoreland, or at worst, to Somerton in St James. On a whole, as has been demonstrated by the protests by West Kingston citizens against the transfer of the senior superintendent, it is not a good idea to shift persons all over the place as they are in the crime-reduction process.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force should engage experienced sociologists and other relevant social scientists, in addition to accurate snipers and intelligence personnel, in order to reap all the successes available.

Who was understudying McGregor or a Reneto Adams, or is there a handbook to guide cops working in the inner cities or tough rural areas?

MICHAEL SPENCE

Liguanea, Kingston 6