Tue | Mar 21, 2023

119 dilemma

Published:Thursday | May 14, 2015 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett

EMERGENCY CALLS to the police 119 number are sometimes redirected to a separate call centre, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has revealed.

Superintendent William Kesler, who heads the Police Control Centre, said it has not been determined whether the call centre is in Jamaica or overseas.

In addition, Kesler revealed that the issue was brought to the attention of telecommunications company LIME, but said the company has not provided an explanation.

"We have instances where persons call 119 and the call is answered at some call centre somewhere Ö other than the police," he told The Gleaner yesterday.

"They are not professional ... . Sometimes they are even rude to you because I have experienced it myself," Kesler underscored.

His disclosure comes in the wake of claims by a St Andrew man that he got no response when he called 119 more than 20 times during an attempted robbery at his home last weekend.

Patrick Panton was counting his blessing yesterday as he reflected on his ordeal.

"I could have been killed," he said.

Panton recounted that he was about to leave his home shortly after 3 a.m. last Friday, when he noticed that his gate was opened and one of the windows to his car had been smashed.

He said attempts to contact a private security company to which he is contracted were unsuccessful and that's when he turned to the police.




"I was calling from the time I noticed the thing straight until about 4:30 [a.m.] non-stop," Panton told The Gleaner.

He said a friend who came to his assistance also tried calling 119, as well as the Constant Spring Police Station, but he, too, got no answer.

While admitting that Panton's story was "cause for concern", Kesler said he found the St Andrew man's claim "most unusual".

He said a check of the system at police controls yesterday revealed that calls to 119 were being answered during the same time period Panton said he was trying to get assistance.

"And there was not a high volume of calls," Kesler noted.

Seeking to explain why he characterised Panton's claim as unusual, the senior cop revealed that the "greatest volume of call" to police controls usually come between the hours of 3 p.m., and midnight each day.

"So, if the incident took place during that time, then I would understand, but when I heard that it happened after 3 a.m., that is cause for concern," Kesler said.