Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Have the police, army set themselves up?

Published:Tuesday | February 2, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Recently, I heard a deputy commissioner of police discussing, on Power 106FM, the high incidence of crime plaguing Jamaica. The DCP told the interviewer that the statistics for rape and shooting, for example, were down 22 per cent and five per cent, respectively, when compared to 2014. The DCP, however, went on to bemoan the fact that murder was the major challenge for the police force.

What I found interesting was that neither the interviewer nor the DCP sought to explain, or have explained, the reason for the possible decline in the rape or shooting figures. I doubt very much that either the DCP or the JCF would be able to proffer an adequate explanation? It, therefore, leads me to ask, what level of control do the police have over these rates? Why, or how, is it that the JCF has become the agency responsible for crime statistics, and why is its performance assessed against these statistics?

If the murder rate declines, the police may be congratulated, but if the rate/figures go up, the police would have failed in some regard. But what control do the police have over these figures? It would appear that if a husband kills his wife, the performance of the police would be immediately impacted. The police may even be expected to anticipate acts of murder. And since attempted suicide is a crime, the police may also be held responsible for someone attempting suicide.

How did the police come to own murder and other statistics and their performance measured against them? The police, no doubt, have some responsibility for crime and crime data.

I, however, think that the key performance target for the police-army would be the extent to which their investigative expertise has been applied to the compilation of water-tight cases for successful prosecution and not the mere reeling out of crime data. Have the police and army been setting themselves up?


Lowe River District