Fri | Jan 22, 2021

Knight cites ‘mistake’ as security minister - Senator calls for management audit of JCF

Published:Tuesday | December 17, 2019 | 12:08 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Parliamentary Reporter
K.D. Knight
K.D. Knight

Opposition Senator K.D. Knight has cited “mistakes” he made during his tenure as minister of national security to bolster his call for a fresh management audit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Knight made the call in the Senate last Friday as he took issue with how personnel and other resources were being deployed by the JCF.

The man widely known as ‘The Sheriff’ suggested that the JCF deploy more bikes in areas with high volumes of motor vehicle traffic, even as he related the fiasco that unfolded after the Ministry of National Security, under his leadership, purchased 60 motorcycles for the JCF. He did not disclose the year.

“The [Police] High Command knew they were coming. When them come, [there were] no riders. Them nuh train nobody fi ride dem … . They were up at Mobile Reserve for a long time,” he recounted.

‘Motorcycles too small’

Not long after, according Knight, there were complaints from “some people” that, ‘Bwoy, the motorcycles dem too small’. Dem want Kawasaki.”

He said that as a result, the ministry purchased “some” of the high-powered bikes in Texas in the United States for the cops.

“You had to use magnifying glass or a telescope to find one of the Kawasaki dem on the roads,” Knight disclosed. “They became pets for those to whom they were assigned, not to be overused in policing, lest they be damaged.”

He said he is unaware whether current National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang has had a similar experience, but acknowledged, “I made that mistake.”

The former national security minister suggested that a fresh management audit is required to lead culture change within the JCF and to address some of the issues around the deployment of resources.

“The last time we had a management audit, I think, was in the 1990s. I think the time is right for another one,” he said.

Overhaul under way

Government Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, however, indicated that Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson is already leading a comprehensive overhaul of the JCF.

“That audit began last year,” said Charles, who, like Knight, was speaking in the Senate during the debate on the extension of states of emergency across seven police divisions.

As an example of the JCF’s deployment deficiencies, Knight pointed to what he said was the “whole heap a” motor cars being used for patrolling during peak hours and the seemingly “aimless” policemen and women on patrol duty.

“Motor cars can’t assist if they [cops] see somebody robbing somebody, shoot at somebody … . They can’t even get out. Imagine something like that happen up Tom Redcam [Avenue in St Andrew],” he added.

“You will see five standing in one place, five looking in the same direction, five seeming aimless … . Not one of them have a book in their hand or taking notes. So maybe those in command need to ensure there is better training for those deployed,” Knight suggested.