Thu | Jul 29, 2021

Lay emphasis on community policing

Published:Tuesday | April 13, 2021 | 12:05 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I read with pride and eagerness, the two-part article written by former Chief of Staff and Commissioner of Police Rear Admiral (Rtd) Hardley Lewin. He focused on rethinking policing in Jamaica. Ninety per cent of this article, however, emphasised increasing police presence on the streets, or on the ground.

The remaining 10 per cent spread itself thinly over matters like the number of officers leaving after enlistment, the decentralisation of training of the police officers, building a relation between private security firms and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the crisis of confidence in the police force, and the philosophy of community policing in Jamaica.

Increasing police presence is definitely relevant at this time. When we divide the rounded figure of three million citizens here by the 11,000 police officers stated in Mr Lewin’s estimate, we obtain a rounded figure of one officer to 273 citizens. When we remove his estimate of 4,000 officers unavailable for ‘ground duty’, the ratio becomes almost 430 citizens to one officer. This is drastically poor and needs to be improved quantitatively and qualitatively. The latter would depend heavily upon the new philosophy of the JCF, if it comes into being.

It is therefore necessary for the honourable retired commissioner to give us a part three to his article, where he should develop the philosophy of community policing sufficiently, so that readers can match the future operations of the force under the new philosophy with the present-day operations and assess its relative merits. I humbly implore him to do this.

OREL DUNSTAN

Port Antonio