There are mixed views among police personnel in western Jamaica regarding the recently announced initiative by Commissioner Owen Ellington to give a monthly $100,000 reward to the police division or formation that takes in the most Illegal guns, dangerous drugs, and wanted persons.
"Since the commissioner's announcement, we have not recovered any guns or drugs, and we have not apprehended any wanted men," said Superintendent Carol McKenzie, the commanding officer for the Westmoreland Division. "We are not doing as well as I would have hoped, but I believe it is a very admirable incentive."
In addition to the $100,000 that will go to the division, there is also scope for individual police officers to benefit as according to the commissioner, one outstanding constable or corporal from the successful divisions would be promoted based on his or her commanding officer's recommendation.
But at least one constable from McKenzie's division is not impressed, saying that the initiative has the potential to spark unnecessary rivalry among police personnel.
"It is going to create competition, and in every competition, you will find cheating and various other things happening as persons try to win. So the force has to look at that aspect of the situation," said the lawman, who did not want to be named.
"You also have to look at the risk assessments, especially with regard to the challenges that officers will face in trying to acquire such incentives. You also have to look at the mandate of Jamaicans for Justice and other civic bodies that the officers must interface with," added the lawman.
Superintendent Dermot Lawrence, the commanding officer for Trelawny, believes the initiative will serve as a source of motivation to his men, who he expects to try and win as many of the monthly cash awards as possible.