JCF’s approach calculated - Anderson
COMMISSIONER OF Police Major General Antony Anderson says the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) under his watch has become very transformational, where everything is designed and calculated before any operation can be given the greenlight.
Anderson, who was speaking at a town hall meeting at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, St James, last Thursday, said he finds this approach very telling and strategically successful, adding that “if you go into something … anything, without a plan … chances are it will be doomed for failure”.
The commissioner, who was also seemingly mindful of the mounting criticisms by the wider society of whether Jamaica could come up with a workable crime plan, said the COVID-19 pandemic, as was the case with every other entity, slowed down the police’s ability to execute many of its planned operations, essentially giving the impression in some quarters that nothing was working.
He said that while it’s still early days, he is confident that the strategy of community involvement, where residents see the police as more of a protector and friend, is a surefire way to success and one that can make criminals feel ostracised, while realising there is no longer a haven in which to operate.
“Let’s look at Salt Spring, here in St James, where the commander on the ground (Senior Superintendent Vernon Ellis) had an intervention plan. When he started, he started with a few, and many came on board after it became more successful,” said Anderson. “If you are talking about a transformational relationship between the police and a community, that is probably the greatest example of it.”
Anderson said his reference to Salt Spring, notoriously one of St James’ most volatile inner-city communities, was to show that it wasn’t just a willy-nilly approach by the police as it relates to intervention, but a case of a carefully thought-out plan that is now a blueprint for success.
He said that the Salt Spring initiative is indicative of what is happening in the police force today, where the support of communities is paramount and which will inevitably give the criminals no space in which to operate.
“The commander had to come to headquarters and had to present a plan. He had to present a plan for intelligence, and how he was going to get it and manage it. He had to present a plan about investigations, and how he was going to conduct those investigations to get the results that he wants. He had to present a plan on how he was going to use and share information with the community,” Anderson outlined.
“Out of these plans … and he was very innovative … came success in Salt Spring. It was successful because he saw the need to bridge the gap between the police and residents. Of course, circumstances can change the plan … that is no reason not to plan,” he reasoned.
The commissioner said that what is now taking place in the JCF is that each commander around the country has to come up with a plan, knowing fully well that resources can’t be approved without having an approved plan.
He said that what has not been lost on the police is that a majority of persons in communities are good people, and that the strategy is to separate the criminals, “where they know that there is no longer any space for them. We have reason to be very optimistic for 2023”, the commissioner added.
“We were interrupted by the pandemic, but we are getting there. The strategy of intervention is that we have to know what we are doing. We must be seen as friends of the communities.”