THE EDITOR, Sir:It is helpful that Police Commissioner Ellington has responded to my challenge. His reply, in the Observer of August 27, 2013, makes it clear that he does not get the two main points of my letter: (1) that present policing strategy is repressive, and (2) is failing to reduce murder rates.
What remains is for Security Minister Peter Bunting, the person responsible for policy, to discuss policing strategy and its failure with the public. Other ministers - in agriculture, education, communication, etc. - discuss their policies and criticisms of them with the business sector and civil society. Why not national security? Why not discuss a PREVENTIVE strategy - its methods, advantages, costs?
Ellington's reply, to come back to it briefly, does not deal with the repressive nature of current policing. The facts are unassailable and, therefore, mostly undenied:
Police turning the community space (of poorer communities) into detention zones as though the majority of their people are criminals.
Police death threats to community leaders.
Police wearing masks without justification.
Police's unjustified killings of large numbers of civilians: the correct INDECOM statement is that 51 per cent of all claims investigated, including very minor ones, were found unsubstantiated, not Ellington's 80 per cent (of fatalities this year).
Police promoted who have supervised many such fatalities: an approval by the Police Commission, which is being appealed in the courts, does not alter the fact.
Police seeking to reverse civilian supervision of their (mis)conduct and, to escape that supervision, even refusing now to engage criminal elements.
Ellington's reply tries to cover up the failure of the strategy by manipulating the number of homicides. The plain fact is that the number of days from January 1 to August 3 is 215, and the number of murders for that same period, according to the Jamaica Constabulary Force crime report, is 662. The number 662, when divided by 215, yields the number three with 17 left over. In other words, the average daily number of murders for the past seven months is a fraction more than three; and the rate is worse if the 742 murders up to August 24 are taken into account - 3.1.
And if Mr Ellington will count the days from June 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012, and divide it into the number of murders for that period, he will find the exact same average daily rate of three. He cannot get around it. Murder, with all the violence associated with it, is the crime that measures the success or failure of his policing.
Mr Ellington's claim of success in 'clearing and holding' is just ludicrous when one considers the level of homicides and robberies not only overall but, for example, in west Kingston (and worse in St James and Clarendon). And the fact is that until 'clearing' seriously occurs, no substantial 'building' by other agencies can go on.