Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Gov’t rushes to improve working conditions for cops

Published:Tuesday | March 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Gleaner Writer
Minister of National Security Robert Montague (left) greets Keneil Haffenden, the 20,000th Jamaica Constabulary Force recruit after the ribbon cutting and handover of newly developed barracks at Harman Barracks in Kingston last month.

Poor working conditions in the police force have been blamed for the high number of resignations each year.

Minister of National Security Robert Montague said an exit survey in 2016 revealed that the less-than-acceptable working conditions contributed to a significant number of persons leaving the force.

Fielding questions from his opposition counterpart during last week's sitting of Parliament's Standing Finance Committee, Montague reported that in 2016 the attrition rate in the police force was 522. Of this number, 360 were resignations. Last year, the attrition rate was 300, of which 194 were resignations.

Montague said major repairs were carried out on 47 police stations and additional maintenance exercises were earmarked for several police stations across the island.

"We were able to spend $12 million to do soft furnishing within some police stations," Montague said.

"The savings on the attrition rate is going to assist us with the recruiting ... . we are aiming to net an additional 1,000 police officers for this year because we are expanding the training capacity of the institution."

He said the Jamaica Constabulary Force has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of the West Indies that would allow the force to train 600 persons per year. At the same time, the dormitory and classroom facilities have been expanded at Harman Barracks to allow for the training of 500 persons per annum.

On another issue, Montague said the Police Civilian Oversight Authority and the Police Service Commission will be merged within the next six months.

At the same time, the force is recruiting 20 lawyers to help police investigators to prepare case files.

Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck is to meet with the attorneys this week to settle the fees to be paid.