LETTER OF THE DAY - We need to become an 'informer' society
The Editor, Sir:
The only way to reduce crime drastically in Jamaica is for the culture to change. We need to become an informer society. It will not be easy. It will require bravery and, in some instances, sacrifice. But I am hopeful.
The recent incident in which the police informed on their own shows that Jamaicans are getting tired of this culture of guns and murders. To transform the culture the people must trust and have confidence in the police. The change must take place in the police force first.
The population must feel confident that if they call and tip off the police, then their information will not be leaked to the criminals who can then dispatch the informer. How to do this?
The police department must undertake a review and examination of every single member of the force. Those who have had gang or criminal links must be removed from the force. Every officer must be given a chance to come clean. Those with minor infractions, if they are proven to have reformed, may be given a chance to stay. Loyalty to the law is imperative. Each officer must prove that he is willing to arrest even his mother if she committed a crime. We know how much Jamaicans love their mother.
The few policemen and women who remain should be properly compensated. There should also be a crackdown on policemen who drink on the job. The police must be properly trained and must be respectful of the people they serve and protect. It would not hurt either to have police community outreach where the community get to mingle with the police.
While those changes are taking place in the force, a special hotline manned by some of the foreign police officers should be in place. The calls that come in should be routed initially to senior policemen for action. As more trustworthy cops come on stream these duties could be delegated to them.
Any breakdown in the confidentiality of the caller information should be thoroughly investigated and the culprit prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law. The compromised informer and their family should be provided with protection. In big cases, the informer should be rewarded.
I believe if these actions were undertaken we would see a dramatic decline in crime in Jamaica. The hardest part to implement is weeding out the corrupt policemen in the force.
I am, etc.,