Downright disgrace not to give cops proper gear
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Let me start by commending the hard-working men and women at the police training academy at Twickenham Park. Over the years, they have repeatedly done a great job in preparing the young men and women who continue to protect and serve with very limited means.
The last set of 177 recruits who were admitted to the Twickenham Park Police Academy in May 2014 went on to endure five months of gruelling training on and off the field before graduating in October 2014, expecting to give 100 per cent to make this country of ours safer.
Armed with a gun, baton and a ton load of enthusiasm, these young recruits were plunged into front-line duties in some of the most volatile divisions, without the very basic handcuffs and ballistic vests. How can police personnel apprehend and subdue an irate individual without the use of handcuffs?
Guns and batons are offensive weapons and should only be used in situations that warrant some kind of physical force. If these police personnel use their batons and other offensive weapons while in the process of subduing an irate suspect, the whole country would be in an uproar and I'm sure the Police High Command would not defend the actions of such cops against the likes of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).
INDECOM has been doing its part in making sure the use-of-force policy is adhered to, but why are we sending our young policemen and women on the streets without the tools necessary to do their work?
Then there is the other point of the non-issuance of bullet-proof vests to the young recruits. Given the environment in which we live, where the streets are filled with criminals and illegal guns, the Ministry of National Security is doing more than a disservice by serving up our young cops to these criminals by sending them into combat without the proper protective gear.
It's time we consider the men and women of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. It's hard enough that they work six days per week, sometimes doing 14-hour shifts, but to send them out to work without the basic protective equipment is a downright disgrace and I'm calling on the Ministry of National Security to act responsibly and do what is necessary to make our crime fighters safer on the job.