Sun | Oct 21, 2018

LETTER OF THE DAY - Forget Jamaican FBI, fix current system

Published:Saturday | October 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM


A broken system does not require more bureaucracy.

Merging agencies in Jamaica has long proved an exercise in semantics and ultimate futility. We have seen this approach taken to crime fighting in recent times with the merger of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Island Special Constabulary Force.

While it is being reported that there has been a reduction in crime, we are yet to see any real gains in terms of the improved efficiency of the police force, a deliverable that was touted as the most potent benefit of the merger. The fact is that merging five or more inefficient agencies will not magically create a super-efficient agency, and at best, is really a Band-Aid solution to a systemic problem.

Crisis of leadership

All of the agencies that are being suggested for mergers indicate that the crime-fighting fraternity does have the necessary infrastructure and legislative support to put a serious dent in the crime monster that continues to plague us. With all the human capital and technological resources at the disposal of crime fighters, the struggle we face to get crime under control suggests a crisis of leadership.

All the agencies we have set up and legislation we have passed cannot work to our benefit if they are not properly coordinated and managed. What is needed is a concerted effort to manage the crime-fighting resources properly and also to take an intelligent approach to policing.

Technology usage

A recent study (Williams & Cespedes, 2013) indicates that while their is high usage and appreciation of technology in the force, it is not being utilised effectively. The technology exist in the police stations but the approach taken to crime is still a 18th century outlook. The strategic orientation of the force in this regard is a modus operandi that has to flow from the top down. This requires leadership!

The current system can work without the added bureaucracy of a 'super agency' in the form of a Jamaican FBI. God knows we already have too much bureaucracy in an already burdened system.

Fix what we have; there is no need to reinvent the wheel.