Fri | Feb 28, 2020

Police commanders, federation boss present united front after public row

Published:Saturday | January 4, 2020 | 3:49 PM
Chairman of the Police Federation Sergeant Patrae Rowe
Superintendent Wayne Cameron, President of the Police Officers Association
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Police commanders and the unions that represent rank-and-file cops have sought to present a united front after a row that played out in public this week.

The Police Federation, which represents policemen and women up to the rank of inspector, ired the first salvo when it claimed, in a scathing op-ed written by its chairman, Sergeant Patrae Rowe, that police commanders were using transfers and approvals for vacation leave to punish subordinates.

In the article, excerpts of which were published by The Gleaner on Monday, Rowe suggested, too, that some senior officers were “lazy and openly resistant to the reform mandate of Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson.”

Days later, the Police Officers Association (POA), which represents police personnel above the rank of Inspector, dismissed the claims, saying it was not aware of any incidents of commanders using transfers and or leave approvals to punish rank-and-file cops and publicly declared its support for Anderson.

The POA also scolded the federation chairman for raising the issues in the public domain, pointing out that there are mechanisms within the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to address the concerns.

Following a meeting with Anderson yesterday, both groups were on the same page.

In a joint statement released by the JCF’s Corporate Communications Unit, both groups agreed that they had “honest, open and frank” discussions with Anderson about challenges before them.

“Following those discussions, the leadership of both organisations is satisfied that the issues were properly ventilated,” the statement said.

“The guidance and direction provided by Commissioner Anderson has provided us with the necessary insight into how to treat with similar concerns that affect our members going forward.”  

While acknowledging that they are passionate about representing the welfare of their members, both groups insisted that they are “united and committed to achieving the strategic objectives of the Commissioner of Police and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.”

The statement also indicated that arising from the discussions, the leadership of the POA and the Police Federation has moved to implement a system of internal communication to ensure that their respective interests are protected.

“We are confident that such a system will ensure that challenges will be properly ventilated internally and remedied in a timely manner,” the statement said.

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