Mon | May 20, 2019

The ‘Untouchables’ police squad

Published:Saturday | May 4, 2019 | 12:24 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In recent days, there has been much talk about a major revamping of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). Now we hear that the Mobile Reserve is to be disbanded after nearly 60 years of operation, and in the words of National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, “an infusion of new, young talent could help reimage a crime-fighting organisation riddled by corruption and inefficiency”.

Dr Chang apparently also said he is ‘expecting swift results with a new brand of young leaders’.

Should we now seize the opportunity to purge the JCF of those in its ranks who are corrupt?

Why not create a small, elite, thoroughly vetted group of officers along the lines of Eliot Ness’ ‘Untouchables’?

Members would be assigned to the group only after passing the most stringent background checks and could be subjected to random follow-up checks if that was felt necessary to ensure that they are not themselves targeted for corruption by financial and other inducements.

Given the persistent claims of ‘informers’ being ‘outed’ to criminals by corrupt police, such a unit could gain the trust of those among us who have information which would be invaluable to dismantling, once and for all, the crime cartels which are strangling our country. These ‘untouchables’ could be charged with the task of not only rooting out corrupt cops, but unveiling reported links, if any, between some politicians and crime ‘dons’ – reporting not to the existing leadership of the JCF or to a politician, but perhaps to someone like the head of the Jamaica Defence Force’s Military Intelligence Unit.

This unit would have a finite lifetime and could be itself disbanded after either completing its task or a predetermined fixed period.

Along with this initiative, we should begin to dismantle the many ‘garrison’ communities that serve as a breeding ground for hardened young criminals and that encourage links to the political system as they create guaranteed seats for those seeking political power.

‘Hard policing’ over the past 45 or more years, with special squads like the Echo Squad, the Ranger Squad, the Eradication Squad and many more too numerous to mention, has achieved exactly nothing, except perhaps creating more criminals as they unleash terror and injustice on poor, inner-city youths.

Well worth a try, I think.

TREVOR BLAIR

Irish Town, St Andrew

tblair_ja@yahoo.com