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Police Firearm and Tactical Training Unit under review, says High Command

Published:Thursday | September 4, 2014 | 9:04 AM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Police High Command has disclosed that the Firearm and Tactical Training Unit is under review following claims that the unit is being disbanded.

While a release from the high command last night did not confirm that the unit was being scrapped it hinted of a possible merger with other formations.

The unit located at the Police Academy at Twickenham Park in St Catherine provides training in firearm usage in compliance with use of force and firearm policies.

However, yesterday Opposition Spokesperson on National Security, Derrick Smith, expressed concern that the unit was being disbanded and the staff transferred because of overseas pressure.

He said he had been informed that the unit was blacklisted under America's Leahy Amendment.

That law prohibits the US Department of State and Department of Defence from providing assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity.

Smith was concerned that the developments come ahead of the start of the enquiry into the 2010 incursion in Tivoli in which members of the unit participated.

The statement last night from the High Command did not address claims in relation to the US law.

However, it hints that the firearm and tactical training unit could be merged with other agencies in the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

According to the High Command, the unit is undergoing various reviews in order to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

It says the findings could result in a merger, similar to the recent one which led to the formation of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency.

However, it stresses that the mandate of the tactical and training unit will remain.

The police High Command says internal reviews are normal administrative processes within organisations.

It says it is expected that specialist units within the Force will be amalgamated based on the findings of internal reviews.

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