Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Time to hold police chief accountable

Published:Wednesday | July 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM


One of the first things I was taught as a young student of leadership and management is that managers are not rewarded for effort but for achievement.

In Jamaica, however, it seems there is no awareness of this concept. People in positions of authority expect to be showered with accolades once they feel they are working, working, working, even if they have nothing tangible to show at the end of the day.




I make specific reference, on this occasion, to the posture of the commissioner of police in the face of the ongoing and frightening escalation in crime and violence in the country. The commissioner has been speaking as if he does not understand he has responsibility for managing the nation's principal crime-fighting agency in the form of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The JCF is the major executing arm of the Government's first and foremost duty of protecting its citizens from crime and violence. It is charged with responsibility not only to prevent crime (if possible), but also to seek out and bring to justice those who commit crime. All we ever seem to get from the JCF are commentaries on the obvious and excuses for dereliction of duty.

A performance-management system with key performance indicators should be instituted in the JCF, such that the commissioner and his subordinates are held accountable for agreed outcomes that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART). It is standard policy and practice in progressive organisations. This would go a far way in helping to identify weaknesses for appropriate action.

The Government must insist that this happen if it wants to live up to the people's rightful expectation of an effective law-enforcement agency that truly serves, protects and reassures.