Thu | Sep 24, 2020

Letter of the Day | The police records app doesn’t work

Published:Monday | November 11, 2019 | 12:00 AM


As Jamaica law enforcement struggles to modernise their services with the use of technology, motorists have now been introduced to a new initiative – an app to allow police to check their records. The app doesn’t work!

My experience (and perhaps that of other motorists) has been that of a police officer ordering you to stop your vehicle and proclaiming that your documents are outdated based on the incorrect data on his modern app. They refer with unbridled confidence to this app on the officer’s Blackberry.

Much to their disappointment, I produce my documents that clearly show that they are up-to-date.

The first time this happened, I treated it as a one-time error. Sadly, my optimism was dashed as I have experienced being pulled over and accused by police and their misguided app an amazing 30 times in the past six months! On each occasion, the app is hastily produced with the same erroneous information, leading to their accusations against me and my poor old vehicle, resulting in the waste of my time in unnecessary traffic stops.

When I confront the police officers, they offer advice that is as useless as their app – that Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) has not updated the app on their system.


Quite annoyed by this weekly ‘abuse’, I visited a TAJ office to beg them to kindly update their system so that the police can ‘Protect and Serve’ rather than ‘abuse and delay’.

Not surprisingly, the TAJ officer was only able to offer me, in the timeless words of Shaggy, ‘It wasn’t me’.

Armed with the strident denials of the TAJ, I proceeded to the one place where I figured there was someone who would understand how to use and fix this app – the Police Commissioner’s office. He was not there. His pleasant receptionist offered me the old refrain – the app is working and the problem is with the TAJ office, not with the app.

From the above experiences I conclude the following:

1. The use of progressive technology can be beneficial, but when the technology fails it can have unfortunate consequences.

2. When something goes wrong with progressive technology, instead of passing the buck to each other, someone needs to acknowledge, own and fix the problem.

3. The delays and frustration caused by this app to the Jamaican motorists, as well as the waste of valuable police time, seemingly does not matter to the powers that be.