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Killings by police on the decline

Published:Tuesday | July 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Sheldon Williams, Staff Reporter

The number of killings by the police between January and June of this year has plunged by more than 40 per cent. Data from both the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) have supported this reduction, though both organisations' numbers differ.

According to statistics from the JCF, there were 68 fatal shootings involving the police as at July 5 compared with 127 at the corresponding period last year. However, senior public relations officer at INDECOM, Kahmile Reid, providing contrasting numbers, said there were 73 fatal shootings involving the police up to June.

INDECOM's records also show that there were 134 fatal shootings involving the police last year, contradicting the police's report of 127 killings over that period.


"For 2014, there was 22 in January, 14 in February, four in March, eight in April, 14 in May and 11 in June," Reid revealed. "We do the investigations. We don't wait on the police to give us the numbers; we already know the numbers," she emphasised.

Head of the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), Deputy Superintendent of Police Steve Brown, attributed the reduction to compliance by cops to the JCF's lethal force policy. "In the last year or so, the Police High Command has ensured that the use-of-lethal-force policy is obeyed. We send out press releases every day to remind persons not to shoot at the police and the police will have no reason to shoot," he said.

He reasoned that persons have been cooperating, exemplified by the number of arrests without incident of wanted men. The increased use of non-lethal weapons by the police has also contributed to the plunge. "There is also the fact that all police personnel must carry a non-lethal weapon. ... Lethal force must be last resort and it has always been that way," Brown remarked.

When quizzed about the contrast in police data with INDECOM, he responded, "We are sticking by our numbers."