The Police high command is supposedly convening a top-level meeting to devise strategies to tackle the astronomical crime rate in the Parish of Saint James which has so far this year resulted in over 310 people murdered and many more shot and injured not to mention property destroyed.
Just recently the Police announced that Deputy commissioner Clifford Blake would be sent to the Parish to tackle the monster there which is causing massive loss of life and extreme embarrassment for the police.
I am unsure of what DCP Clifford Blake will bring to the table which will change the trajectory of crime in St. James or anywhere for that matter.
Speaking to cops on the ground about this they snicker when Blake is mentioned.
They have long complained that DCP Blake’s claim to fame is to antagonize officers about whether their whistles are clean and shiny as well as making demands that they wear the official uniform, replete with cummerbund instead of the more practical denim dress for duties in places like Riverton city and other gritty places in the Saint Andrew South Police Area.
Set the absurdity of a Clifford Blake impact aside.
For decades it was an open secret that cops in the western parishes which make up the police Area 1 were largely corrupt.
Without tarring and feathering all of the officers who have passed through the Police Area 1 over the years, it is fair to say that there is much truth to those whispers.
Having served in the Mobile Reserve which distributed cops across the Island to cool hot spots, it was not lost on us whenever we went to the parish of Saint James that there were two police departments, Police Area One and the rest of the Constabulary.
Those who make the argument that a corrupt police department cannot have success in containing crime are absolutely correct.
The stranglehold with which crime has taken over the western parishes and the stubbornness with which it has withstood remedies suggests that the police is an integral part of the crime culture there.
While all of this is happening crime is mushrooming across the Island with alarming ferocity. This is not happening in a vacuum, for years I have been warning that if the country does not push back hard and decisively criminals will continue to push the envelope with alarming brazenness and it may eventually overwhelm the Island’s already suspect security infrastructure.
Though not the first time we have had brazen shooters enter a church, just yesterday 9 mourners were shot in a church on Winward Road as they attended a funeral service. According to published reports, there were fatalities among the injured.
For the record that was an act of terrorism whether the Island’s political leadership wants to admit it is neither here nor there.
So what does the police hierarchy do about the crime situation across the country and specifically in St James?
The Police Area 1 did not get to be the crime haven it is overnight, it won’t be remedied overnight. In order to begin to reverse the trend, the leadership of the force will have to begin the arduous task of regaining trust from the citizenry.
That is going to be a monumental task and so in order to change the perceptions of a corrupt police the department will have to be heavy on the optics.
Even so, it will require a considerable amount of time before the citizens being to talk to officers again about what is happening in their communities, who are committing those acts and where to find them.
If citizens are unable to distinguish cop from criminal how can they be expected to risk their lives to furnish intelligence when that noble act of citizenship may end up costing them their lives.
Talk to any cop of the past who had any success dealing with criminals within their areas of operation and they will tell you that they were able to get good intelligence from the people they served. It is a partnership between the protected and the protectors which require mutual respect and collaboration.
COMMISSIONER QUALLO, USE THIS SHEET TO HELP YOURSELF AND JAMAICA DEAL WITH THE CRIME SCOURGE
Desperate times require strong measures. In order to impress the citizens of St, James the Police Commissioner must buck some trends and go big.
Going big means transferring every single cop stationed in the Parish to other Parishes.
Do not send DCP Blake to the Parish he has no practical policing experience and may very well have been promoted above his capabilities. Since those wrongs are not going to be righted today there is no reason to further exacerbate the situation by parachuting a technocrat who has no idea what he is doing.
Sending Blake to St. James guarantees one outcome, disgruntled demoralized cops who drop their hands further.
This Police Department of 2017 must begin once again to value the difference a robust Criminal Investigations Branch brings to any police department.
This has nothing to do with the creation of multiple supposed Investigative arms which are based in Kingston and cannot investigate itself out of a brown paper bag.
Fresh police officers in the Parish and a push toward community-based policing is critical while getting capable undercover cops embedded into the communities is critical to any success the Police Department is going have going forward.
The Police must get back to gathering intelligence if it is to have any hope of reversing this crime wave.
Commissioner Quallo, it is critical that the officers operating in the communities have a senior sub-officer at all times.
Having seasoned sub-officers on the ground reduces the likelihood of citizens abusing younger officers and it reduces the likelihood of officers abusing citizens.
It also reduces the potential for corruption.
There are serious well-connected players operating in the Police Area 1.
Out of those connections emanate the lotto-scam, guns for drugs, the cocaine trade and other transnational crimes which are having devastating consequences on the security of Jamaicans.
It is imperative that the links between those well-connected figures and police officers are disconnected.
Commissioner Quallo, you must demand that the Prime Minister and his lackeys as well as the PNP and its lackeys step aside and allow the Police to do its work unobstructed.
Failing which Commissioner, you must Investigate the Politicians who as much as lift a finger to obstruct, hinder, or otherwise ingratiate themselves into the operational procedures of the police department regardless of where they operate from, be it Jamaica House or Flankers.
If the Prime Minister and his lackeys or the PNP and it’s lackeys refuse to stand aside while the police department does what it is mandated to do by virtue of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Act, tender your resignation and reveal through the media what they did to hamper your work.
Do not allow anyone to use you as a scapegoat while they are absolved of responsibility for whats happening.
Initiate a push aimed at breaking up the Gangs operating in those spaces, it is important that you create an anti-gang task force solely for the western Parishes. This task-force must be relentless, not just operating during the daylight hours, but must be so relentless and lethal that no one wants to be associated with a gang.
Yes, I said lethal, I specifically used that term to annoy the bleeding heart frauds who pontificate about human rights as if the rights of killers supersede those of their victims.
Commissioner Quallo, one of the best qualities of a good leader is that leader’s ability to inspire, to motivate. The ability to make something out of nothing, to get subordinates to go the extra mile.
Not because of the goodness of the Organization or even the nobility of the cause but because they want to work for that leader.
Your Agency is doing a tremendous disservice to the young men and women who join, remember that the agency is having a difficult time attracting suitable candidates to fill existing spots.
Additionally, over 500 officers are leaving each year, trying to imprison them in order to keep them in is a waste of time, it is unconstitutional.
The attitude of your senior staff to the men and women under their command is a huge part of the reason police officers are fleeing the department.
Being a leader does not make one a Lord, get that message to your commanders and maybe, just maybe some of your problems will be averted.
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