My crime-fighting suggestions
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Congrats to the new (Acting) Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant. Many consider it refreshing to see a female face at the top, for many reasons. It is widely felt that women are more humane and less prone to corruption.
One of the best things Grant can do is take some advice from the most powerful and wisest being in the world. Here's what He has to say on crime-fighting:
Eccl 8:11, New American Standard Bible:
"Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil."
The New Living Translation puts it more simply: "When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong."
Can you speed up crime-fighting? Absolutely! With a system of motivation and rewards that celebrate good cops and good crime-fighting. Here are some suggestions:
Reduce police response time to all calls. Set standard response times for all stations. The police must be out of the station within five minutes and on the scene within 15 minutes of each call with cameras rolling, except in rural areas where access might require longer periods. I've heard of committed policemen wading across rivers/streams and climbing mountain tracks on foot to get to crime scenes.
When the police get to the scene while criminals are in action, cameras must record the police actions as well as actions of the criminals.
Cameras must record processing of crime scenes and interviews with victims and/or witnesses.
Chain of custody for evidence must be strictly adhered to, documented and signed off by senior/designated officer.
Follow-up visits to victims and witness interviews must be videotaped, copied, signed and filed/stored appropriately.
Record and investigate all credible tips.
All successful or unsuccessful efforts to catch suspects at large must be videotaped and recorded - including car chases and/or shoot-outs.
Monitor crime-fighting to give the police the necessary assistance.
Put trackers on police vehicles; senior officer on duty to monitor movement from station to crime scene or regular patrol, and assist in cases of difficulty, if necessary.
Request assistance from experts for all cases or aspects of cases beyond officer's sphere of competencence.
REWARDS FOR CRIME SOLVING
The private sector, from telecommunications giants and big banks to smaller companies, have spent billions sponsoring sports from the primary level upwards. Big banks in Jamaica alone can afford to provide an initial sum of $100 million to reward cops for solving crime following established and legal procedures. The crime-scene tapes and follow-up reports will show clearly which cop has solved the most crimes, that is, closed the most cases, providing watertight evidence in court while following guidelines or using his/her initiative without going outside the law.
Give the best performing cop $12 million tax-free,
and the officer in charge a reward commensurate with his direction and oversight; and reward the police station that solves the most crimes and closes the most cases, using a scale to weight crimes according to seriousness.
Negotiate a standard reward from insurance companies for policemen who recover stolen vehicles, and from government for the confiscation of motor bikes and other vehicles that enter the country illegally, when these are auctioned.
Find creative ways to reward good policemen, not just financially, but via commendations and promotions where appropriate.
Promote policemen who solve cases by forensic evidence that leave no doubt of guilt: DNA, fingerprint, footprint, videotape, and by locating stolen property and credible eyewitness testimony.
Share best practices so every station benefits.