Improve police response time

Published: Thursday | December 5, 2013 Comments 0


In the aftermath of last week's tragic incident in St Elizabeth in which a teenager was allegedly killed by her child's father, the time has come for the Police High Command to establish minimum guidelines for response time for our law-enforcement officers. While this occurs in other jurisdictions, Jamaica is once again lagging behind where this is concerned. This guideline should be for all police stations across the island, regardless of location.

I am very much aware that staffing the police force is extremely challenging, more so in this period of recession and financial constraints. However, it is very clear that we must find additional resources to adequately equip our police officers in order for them to do their job. It is only after this has been done that we can hold them fully accountable for not responding promptly.

Whether someone had just broken into our home, or whether someone has threatened you or your family, the first instinct is to call the police for help. It cannot be that in your time of need as a law-abiding citizen the police is not in a position to assist because their vehicle is being used to transport prisoners.

Too often, we hear of reports of individuals requesting assistance from the police only to be told that no vehicles are available or, worse yet, no petrol is available for the vehicle. This is unacceptable and should not be tolerated anymore!

Who knows? Maybe the outcome in St Elizabeth could have been different had the Nain police responded to the call from the deceased's grandmother for help. According to the grandmother, she called both the Nain and Alligator Pond police stations repeatedly for assistance.

The principle of community policing will not be served if our police officers are not viewed favourably by the community in which they serve. Effective policing is not only about increasing the number of policemen and women in the force; it is also about facilitating them to effectively respond to the needs of the citizenry in a timely and professional manner. It is commendable that the commissioner of police has launched an investigation into the matter. Let us use this most regrettable experience to put some corrective measures in place so as to not have a repeat of what was a most unfortunate incident.


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