Sat | Mar 17, 2018

Policing ... what policing?

Published:Thursday | December 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I think of myself as just a concerned and caring Jamaican citizen. I have no political axes to grind and I have no axe to grind with organisations. However, I care about how Jamaica finds many ways, every day, to fall over itself, just by doing ridiculous things or by not avoiding those ridiculous things befalling us.

A few days ago, I commented on social media that the Jamaica Constabulary Force do not do policing, according to accepting definitions of that word.

A police force has the duty:

- of maintaining law and order in (or for) an area or event;

- enforcing regulations or an agreement in (a particular area or domain);

- enforce the provisions of a law, agreement, or treaty.

Yet, every day, it seems, we see our regular police force unable to perform these basic functions. For that reason, I am one of those leery of giving the police wider powers to deal with crime, on the basis that they cannot prove that they are doing well, or enough, with the many powers they already have. If they want to argue that lack of resources has hampered them, then go ahead, and explain fully how that has been the case, not just opining that it is so.

But, for my point, let me just deal with things that will be fresh in people's minds.

- A 14-year-old is raped, and a suspect is caught, and the two people are transported TOGETHER to the police station. What could go wrong? Everything! And it did. The culprit escaped from a set of defective handcuffs. Result: a traumatised family and a police force with a severe case of egg on face.

- I just read a report of a policemen being given bail for having stolen the 'black box' from a service motorcycle.

I won't go beyond those simple instances, because I think they make the point well.

At a basic level, we are not being served, by those who are there to serve and protect us.

Commissioner Williams can sit in another interview and tell us that all is not bad and that crooked police are a fraction. The problem, as with any scrappy event, is that everyone runs the risk of being snared by these basic inefficiencies and weaknesses in service integrity.

You cannot talk about how much you want public help, when you seem incapable of helping yourself.

Dennis Jones