Jamaicans to see JCF culture shift - Bunting
National Security Minister Peter Bunting says a number of measures have been put in place to effect a culture shift in the ranks of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
As part of those measures, Bunting says Jamaicans will see a downplaying of the paramilitary style policing as more police personnel will go back to wearing their assigned uniforms.
Bunting is also promising that there will be fewer police personnel dressed in blue denim, body armour and armed with assault rifles when it is not necessary.
The announcements came after the United States Government handed over 3,400 kits containing non-lethal weapons to the JCF on Thursday.
The National Security Minister says the kits, which each contain a baton, pepper spray canister, a pair of handcuffs and a utility belt, will be sufficient to equip most police personnel engaged in front line duties.
More than 800 persons have been killed by the police over the last four years prompting calls from some civil society groups for the JCF to employ less lethal law enforcement measures.
Meanwhile, Charge d’ Affaires at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Elizabeth Lee Martinez, says her government is committed to an ongoing partnership with the JCF.
Martinez was speaking on Thursday after the US government handed over some 3,400 kits containing non-lethal weapons valued at US$2.4 million to its Jamaican counterpart.
Her assurance comes after months of speculation that the US had withheld critical support to the JCF over reports that police death squads were engaging in extra judicial killings.
Martinez says the US is committed to an ongoing partnership with the JCF to create an annual refresher for all officers in the use of less than lethal force.
She says the goal is to ensure that these techniques will soon become second nature and part of the culture of the JCF.
She also commended Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams and the JCF for what she described as their commitment to professionalism and to improving their skills and abilities to resolve conflict with a minimum use of force.
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