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'Get rid of some top cops' - Horace Levy calls for overhaul of the force

Published:Friday | January 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Horace Levy

 Jermaine Francis, Gleaner Reporter

AS THE problem of extrajudicial killings by the police moves to the forefront once again, Horace Levy, sociology lecturer and board member of the Peace Management Initiative, is calling for an overhaul of the force, with many of the top-level officers being kicked out.

The spotlight has been centered on the police again with the fatal shooting of Nakeia Jackson in Orange Lane, Kingston, earlier this week and a Sunday Gleaner report that there are 'death squads' operating within the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has revealed that since the start of the year, it has been called in to investigate 14 civilian killings in which the security force was involved. But Levy said although this figure is far lower than the 40 extrajudicial killings reported last October, this cannot be allowed to continue.

Levy said a fundamental change was needed. "There has to be a really profound transformation of the force by clearing out most of those at the top," he argued.

He said the public must also demand that the police discontinue its use of deadly force as it is not helping to reduce the country's murder figures.

"If they didn't have the support of some in the public and politics, then they would have to change," Levy posited.

He said some members of the public have sought to defend the police's actions because they are fed up with the high crime rate.

However, he stressed that the paramilitary strategy that the force has adopted over the years has not worked and more focus should be placed on community outreach.

"One of the things that needs to be done, which is the direction the Ministry of National Security seems to be heading in, is to do more community development and more social projects."