Mon | Sep 20, 2021

Empower cops to do their work

Published:Saturday | May 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir;

We can only fight crime adequately when we understand it. That means we must drill down deeper to understand where crime is occurring and why. It is only then that a crime-fighting strategy can be tailored to maximise resources and impact.

This crime-fighting strategy must be unique to each police division in Jamaica and, therefore, the commissioner must empower each division to put together its strategy. Usually, when this is done, the persons involved will have a greater commitment and since crime fighting is everyone's business, these strategies must be developed through consultations with the citizens in the division. This can be done through townhall meetings and refined by the police hierarchy.

Crime is committed by a relatively small number of people. It is often the same individuals committing crimes over and over again. Guns and bullets are expensive and yet some of the more sophisticated guns are found in poor communities. We have to believe that people who are well connected with a whole lot of money are involved. These persons are using our youth to do their dirty work.

Just look on the statistics just released by the Ministry of Education on the number of young people leaving primary school below the required standard. It is not difficult to understand that these children are good targets for these kingpins. We must not expect quick fixes to these problems; we make assumptions, developed practical plans, work these plans and adjust them as we move towards our goal. Our goals cannot change but we must adjust our plans as often as possible in order to meet the goals. The goal must be a crime-free society, period.

Performance targets

The Jamaica constabulary force is a business and must be run like a business. Performance targets must be set, and the force must have an established human-resource department to monitor performance and develop personnel policies and standards. Disciplinary action schedule must be established and each police division head must be empowered to take the necessary disciplinary action using standard industrial-relations guidelines.

The force is run by the commissioner and, therefore, he must be given the authority to hire and fire any one of its members. However, this must be done according to the industrial-relations guidelines. After all, this is a business, it is the business of fighting and preventing crime and the commissioner is no different from a chief executive officer in the private sector.

I am, etc.,