Mon | Sep 28, 2020

Computerised system soon to replace ‘big book’ in police stations

Published:Saturday | August 8, 2020 | 12:09 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Major General Antony Anderson (left), commissioner of police, with senior members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force during a tour of the Specialised Operations Branch at Harman Barracks on Tuesday.
Major General Antony Anderson (left), commissioner of police, with senior members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force during a tour of the Specialised Operations Branch at Harman Barracks on Tuesday.

Police Commissioner Antony Anderson is touting the pending end of the ‘big book’ in logging reports at police stations as part of the ongoing transformation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) using technology.

The statement book is one of the vestiges of the old method of policing and is seen, even within police circles, as backward in the age of the rapid rise and constant change in computer technologies.

Anderson, while addressing reporters at the end of a tour of the Special Operations Branch at Harman Barracks recently, declared its doom.

“We will go to an electronic and modern system of capturing all information that can be seen from one end of the island and to the other,” said Anderson.

He said the paradigm shift that had taken place in the JCF was evident in the quality of young men and women it was attracting, stating that they are suited for the force.

“Technology is a part of what they do; it’s how they live. Everybody we recruit is recruited with a smartphone. They all have it already, tablets and laptops, so they are not unfamiliar with this,” Anderson stated.

“We are carrying them through a process to appreciate and to use the technology that is available to us now,” he added.

The top cop said also that the JCF would soon have more body-worn cameras in its arsenal, having procured the devices and awaiting their arrival.

“We went through an extensive procurement process lasting a year or more, and these bodycams are on their way,” Anderson said in response to a question.

Continued investment

At the same time, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang assured members of the force that the Government would continue to invest in the overall security of the country.

He said that helmets, ballistic vests, motor vehicles that had been procured for and provided to the police were ranked among the best available.

“We will never provide anything but the best when it comes to equipping the men and women of the police force,” Chang said in speaking to the strategic plans of the JCF in combating major and organised crime aided by the available technologies.

To date, the Government has invested approximately $500 million to build out the capacity and technological capabilities of the JCF at Harman Barracks.

Of the investments, Chang said they are critical to “improving our crime outcomes and sustaining a downward trend in homicides”.

“Over the one-year period since we undertook this strategic change, the establishment of the Specialised Operations Branch has had tangible and impactful results. Of note, we would have seen the uptick in the number of high-powered weapons that have been seized by the police in recent months,” said Chang.

Further, he noted that the police have been systematically dismantling gangs and bringing criminals to justice.

“You will recall that several high-value targets have been apprehended over the one-year period from August 2019 to present. This has been primarily as a result of the tactical, persistent, and intelligence-lead operations of the police, while observing the law,” Chang added.

The Special Operations Branch was developed and became operational after the winding-up process of the Mobile Reserve in 2019. Its building-out phases have been overseen by Assistant Commissioner of Police Warren Clarke.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com