The Government will be exploring the engagement of psychological services for the Jamaica Constabulary Force in the wake of Saturday's shooting death of 27-year-old pregnant mother Kayann Lamont and the injury of her sister by a policeman in St Thomas.
In a release yesterday, the Ministry of National Security indicated that Cabinet has sanctioned the programme which would include the training of police personnel to identify high levels of emotional and job-related stress among colleagues, the implementation of psychological/psychometric screening both at recruitment and at periodic intervals throughout their tenure to identify 'at risk' personnel, and ensuring that police personnel have access to professional psychological services in a confidential setting.
"The minister of national security (Peter Bunting) reaffirms, on behalf of the Cabinet, the commitment of the Government to have all agents of the state demonstrate respect for the human rights of its citizens," the ministry said in its release.
"Notwithstanding the 15 per cent reduction in police fatal shootings year to date, it insists that this figure must be reduced to the minimum that is absolutely necessary."
The ministry said it deeply regrets the incident and has joined the family of the deceased, the community and the nation in grieving the tragic episode.
Shock and sadness
Earlier in the day, the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition joined its voice with other groups and individuals to express shock, sadness and bewilderment at the recent killing.
The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) yesterday indicated that it continued to be deeply concerned about the questionable nature of the shooting incidents involving the security forces.
"The JCC appeals to all rank-and-file officers to ensure that they exercise good judgement and conduct themselves professionally, as not to do so is to put the public at risk and to bring the hard work and dedication of the other members of the force into disrepute," a statement from JCC said.
"The council remains sensitive to the high levels of stress, personal and professional, with which many of our security personnel are faced," it stated.
The JCC also called for regular and systematic psychological assessment and care for officers, especially those who interface with the public.