Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Cleaning up the JCF

Published:Thursday | July 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

There has been much discussion about what must be a multifaceted approach to taming the crime monster. One subject of prominence in this discussion is how to effectively deal with the endemic corruption in the Jamaica Constabulary (JCF). Recently an academic proposed the training of members of the JCF similar to how the members of the JDF are trained as a method to dealing with corruption in the JCF. This proposal displays a frightening lack of research and understanding of the subject matter and needs to be swiftly dismissed.

The training of a soldier is geared towards him, rifle in hand, closing with and killing the enemy, and to take and hold ground. The people who commit crimes are not enemy combatants to be eliminated. They are citizens with constitutional rights entitled to due process in a court of law. I suspect this academic admires the selection process, training, discipline, ethos and the command and control structure of the JDF. It is these attributes that allows the JDF to effectively act in support of the JCF. However, the killing of criminal suspects without due process of law by members of the JCF was the reason INDECOM was established; we need less extrajudicial killings, not more.

Twenty years ago someone who was later to serve as Commissioner of Police, over a cold Red Stripe, shared with me his solution for cleaning up the JCF: "Fire all the members of the JCF and hire back the good ones in a new Jamaica Police Service".

Of course, there would have to be a number of preliminary actions such as setting up a committee to review the files of every police personnel and passage of a new Police Service Act. We need to seriously consider this approach to cleaning up the JCF. I believe that all the clean, honest and hard-working members of the JCF would support this approach. As for the corrupt ones, they will be the first to squeal: "Fling stone inna hog pen ..."

Alwyn K Gregory