Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
POLICE PERSONNEL who have been assigned to carry out duties in public spaces are now barred from wearing clothing and other items not approved by the Police High Command.
Police Commissioner Owen Ellington, who issued the directive, has also ordered that where policemen and women wearing plain clothes are accosting citizens in public spaces, they must first identify themselves with their identification cards.
"It is the duty of shift commanders and station supervisors to ensure these instructions are strictly complied with," Ellington wrote in the weekly Force Orders released yesterday.
The directives, which will be immediately enforced, come as the police seek to address the increasing practice of criminals wearing lookalike police gear to disguise themselves as members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Ellington said the practice has become an "increasing threat" to the safety of police personnel and members of the public.
"In doing so, criminal elements gain compliance of unsuspecting civilians to submit to traffic stops mounted by criminals and are thereafter victimised," he explained.
The commissioner noted that there have been instances where police personnel, both on and off duty, are deceived by criminals.
Citing one example, he pointed to the killing of Special Constable Dowan Peart who was shot by gunmen on Tuesday night after he stopped to assist a group of men he thought were police personnel.
Eyewitnesses claim Peart's killers were wearing what appeared to be police vests and were travelling in a motor car with licence plates similar to those used on government vehicles.
As part of the measures, Ellington also insisted that police personnel must be fully attired in standard "working uniform" while on duty in public spaces.
In addition, he said uniformed personnel must clearly display their regulation number while on duty .