Speak up - Clarendon top cop wants more citizen cooperation
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
The issue of potential witnesses withholding vital information in many cases have long been a problem for the police. Many times, persons opt to keep quiet about what they see or hear out of fear for their lives and that of their family.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), however, relies heavily on witnesses to come forward with information on acts of violence, such as murder, for them to make arrests and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Carol McKenzie, superintendent in charge of operations at the May Pen Police Division, says every citizen who has witnessed a crime has an obligation to report it.
few good men
"There must be a few good men who are willing to speak up for justice of their fellow citizens. They should not wait until someone close to them becomes a victim of a crime then they speak up. We want them to help us catch the criminals before they get to you or your relatives," the superintendent said.
"What we see happening most times is that the police have to apprehend the perpetrator before we see witnesses coming forward," McKenzie said.
He acknowledged that there are situations where persons are afraid to report crimes out of fear of losing their own lives or their relatives'.
"Anywhere in the world you go, that's a real problem. People are afraid to report what they see because, chances are, they will need to make court appearances and the family of the accused may easily put out a hit on the witness or his relatives as punishment for having informed," McKenzie said.
Superintendent McKenzie said that Jamaica's witness protection programme works and full protection and security is guaranteed to persons who give sensitive information.
"The programme is 100 per cent foolproof, but if a person just decide to forfeit the programme and leave voluntarily before it ends, then they leave at their own risk, they give up their freedom," he said.