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LETTER OF THE DAY - Overhaul the recruitment of cops

Published:Friday | March 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM


I READ with great concern in The Sunday Gleaner on page A5 of the March 21 issue the caption 'Rush for recruits, 'loophole for shady characters' to join the Jamaica Constabulary Force'. My concern is with the number of police personnel who have been convicted for bribery and other acts of criminality, along with the numbers that are now under investigation and/or currently on suspension.

These numbers are unprecedented in the force, thus rendering the public in general, to have lost respect and confidence in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

For the JCF to regain the respect and confidence of the public, there must be some drastic changes. Foremost of these, in my mind, is that a commissioner must be appointed. It is difficult for someone acting in a post to stamp his way firmly on an organisation. In acting, one only holds the reins and does not change direction, but continues down the path until another driver is appointed, who will then take control and pick a route to reach the desired or agreed destination.

The JCF also needs to look at recruitment to plug the loopholes preventing those shady characters from entering the force. One experienced sergeant commented that she has not seen or heard of any changes to the vetting process, to ensure that the integrity is preserved. The sergeant went on to say that she suspects that corruption has seeped into the process where an individual is now able to contact a person or persons on the interviewing panel and request favourable consideration.

Strong action needed

If this is the case, that is a disappointing turn of events and utterly disgraceful if members of the interviewing panel are engaged in this activity. If found out, the authorities need to take strong action against the offending panellists.

I would further like to suggest that all such interviews be conducted by the Police Service Commission, this might mean that their number might have to be increased but for the sake of law and order, confidence has to be reposed in our security forces and criminals must again fear them, knowing that if they commit themselves, then they will be brought to book.

The time to act is now.

I am, etc.,