Police developing guidelines for their interaction with children
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is developing a framework to govern the way in which law enforcers interact with children on a daily basis.
The JCF said its commitment to upholding human rights in the country has led to the Child Interaction Policy and Procedures (CIPP) which "aims to make every police interaction with children a positive one". It also ensures that the dignity and respect of the child is maintained throughout each encounter and seeks to foster a child-friendly environment within the JCF, safeguard the rights of the child, strengthen collaboration with governmental and non-governmental agencies and treat all children in accordance with the constabulary's legal and ethical obligations.
"The JCF is partnering with stakeholders such as the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC), located at the University of the West Indies Open Campus, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), the Child Development Agency, the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR), the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Office of the UN Commission on Human Rights, police youth clubs among other agencies and departments, to ensure that all considerations related to the protection of our children are included within this policy," the JCF said.
To seek feedback on the policy and to ensure all the issues relating to the rights of the child are adequately covered, the police, along with the CCDC, played host to these and other stakeholders at a consultative seminar on November 18.
Child Rights Education Project Leader at the CCDC, Heather Gallimore, who was instrumental in the CIPP's development, said she was "pleased to be a part of this multifaceted, groundbreaking, capacity-building work in partnership with the CCDC, UNICEF and the JCF," she said
"I commend the police for recognising the importance of strengthening the JCF's ability to establish and sustain standards to guide all police interactions with children."
She added, "The new CIPP provides clear standards and the necessary framework to ensure the best interests of children are upheld in all police work. The project continues to provide support, such as for the development of a corps of specially trained police officers, child rights and responsibilities e-content for the Police College and child-focused job aids."
Child Protection Specialist of UNICEF, Janet Cuppidon-Quallo also lauded the efforts of the constabulary to protect the rights of children and expressed hope that its effect will be felt throughout the island.
"UNICEF Jamaica is pleased to support this groundbreaking effort, to improve how the Police Force interacts with children in their care. We commend our partners, the JCF and the CCDC, for their sustained commitment to developing this policy - and more broadly, the Ministry of National Security for taking this significant step. UNICEF has also supported a parallel effort to strengthen understanding of child rights by police officers at all levels. Together, we expect that these investments will have positive and far-reaching effects for children, whether they are victims, witnesses or perpetrators," said Cuppidon-Quallo.
Senior superintendent of Police, Desmond Brooks of the Research Planning and Legal Services Branch, the unit responsible for the planning, evaluation and implementation of the policy, reiterated the JCF's commitment to upholding human rights, particularly those of children.
"The JCF Child Interaction Policy and Procedures is a manifestation and reaffirmation of our commitment, and multiple efforts to uphold human rights, by setting standards aimed at ensuring that our collective efforts, support the best interests of all children in Jamaica. The policy seeks to make every police encounter with a child a positive one in which protective and corrective action is taken, and both sides emerge with dignity and respect," said Brooks.