Mike Beckles…….

One of the many police stations in Jamaica to have been attacked by gangsters

In a (JIS)Jamaica Information Service release, the Jamaican Government announced recently that it intends to spend $5 billion in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to better combat crime, while making it the best police force in the region.
According to the release, the money will be spent on five(5) key areas.
Opening the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on April 16, Dr. Chang said the money will be spent on five key areas.
These include rebuilding and retrofitting of police stations into modern citizen-friendly spaces; upgrading of police communication systems; introducing technology as a force multiplier; improving police mobility; and internal restructuring and expanded training of police officers.
In a
He said the Government is working to ensure that all police stations will be brought up to “minimum standards” over the next two years.

At the risk of being immediately lampooned as a Debbie-downer by the hyper-partisans who cannot understand anything outside orange and green, I must say that I am disappointed that I haven’t seen anything in the allocation which recognizes the need for cops to be paid a livable wage.
But I get that, this is Jamaica we are talking about, there is no respect for law enforcement officers, truthfully, there is scant respect for the rule of law, but I digress.
I want to go on record here and make some dire predictions regarding the specifics of a few of the plan as laid out by Horace Chang the Minister of National Security.
If this does not shock you into a recognition that the policymakers are going backward I have no idea what will.
Without going into the specificity of where the funding is coming from, here is the problem with the decision-making.

Part of Horace Chang’s statements.

“Not only are we rebuilding and retrofitting particular police stations but all stations will be redesigned to look like modern office space,” Dr. Chang said.
He informed that stations will be equipped with appropriate reception areas for all persons who need to access police services through this medium.
“Interview rooms will be designed to ensure privacy yet transparency of the officers recording statements and the citizens who come in to file sensitive complaints, especially persons who come to make reports concerning intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and sexual abuse,” he said.

He further noted that officers will be enlisted in the requisite public engagement programmes, as good customer service is as essential as proper infrastructure. “All persons seeking the assistance of the police are clients of the Government and we must treat them with the dignity they deserve,” he said.

Jamaica is going deeper and deeper into a state of no return as it relates to armed gangs. The Island’s Gangs have demonstrated the capacity and will to transition into one powerful Militia if the motivation is strong and lucrative enough.
Surely this Government and the one it succeeded, have learned nothing from the events of 2010.
I am literally certain that they did not consult with a single senior person in the Police Department, to get their input or ideas and or concerns regarding how these stations are to be configured and retrofitted. You know, since they are the ones who have the lived experiences?
Apart from the fact that there seems to be nothing in that large allocation for the officers themselves, the Government seems hell-bent on in its desire to avoid reality and continue on a breakneck pace to do everything opposite of whats required.

Just two days ago, during Easter, on the Island of Sri Lanka militants attacked hotels and places of worship with bombs. Over 300 people were murdered.
Over the years Jamaica’s police stations have been attacked and peppered with automatic weapons fire. Police stations have been burned and officers killed in the process.
These attacks came after threats against the lives of the police but more sinister, after heavily armed thugs have made the decision to take up arms against the state.
It is against this background that the Government has decided to embark on a process of creating police stations which will further place the lives of the nation’s police officers in grave danger under the guise of creating citizen friendly spaces.
No decision is made with the best interest of the people tasked in securing the nation in mind.
The arrogance of Horace Chang, and the other policymakers is palpable. The blatant disregard for best practices and forward thinking is astounding.

It is not the most ideal situation but it is necessary, police stations must be configured with officer safety in mind over all else.
It is incomprehensible that these politicians could be so brain-dead and utterly disrespectful of the rights and security of the police, that they would embark on such a project of this magnitude without first establishing what will be the needs of the police going into the future.
This is not just an issue of disrespect of the police. It transcends that. Not only will it place the lives of officers in grave danger it further complicates the nation’s delicate economic situation as changes will need to be made later after attacks and killings occur in their own stationhouses, as it is sure to happen.
The statements attributed to Horace Chang above sounds really good but those sentiments are representative of a time past, half a century ago.
The idea of state of the art facilities designed as modern office spaces, are reflective a more tranquil time when people were not entering police stations and shooting police officers and burning police stations.
This is not state of the art idea, it is, state of the past debacle.
Creating appropriate accommodations for the public is noble, but it is clear that none of the deliberations (if any) or considerations are done with the most important people, the human element in mind.

In the United States when you walk into most police stations you have to interact with an officer using an intercom system. After they are satisfied that you are not there to murder them, they decide on how you enter the facility and is ushered to where you need to get to.
Say what you want but this is not where we are coming from it is where we are going.
Except in Jamaica, it seems where the tail always wags the Dog.

These are not incidents of abstraction, they are real and present incidents which are reflective of a changing environment.
In 2016 shots were fired at two police stations in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s North District. Indiana is not known as a state in which there a hotbed of resentment against police.
Nevertheless, that did not prevent assailants from opening fire at two separate facilities. 

Hannah Town Police station burned 2010

After the shootings, a large group of public officials gathered in support of the police. Officials suggested then that the shootings could be in retaliation for a recent crackdown on drug dealers.
When police stations are attacked in Jamaica, no public official turn up in support of the police, even in cases where officers are shot and killed.
No respect is paid to their sacrifice and the despicable frauds who pose as leaders dishonor them by not even showing up to pay respects to their honor.

The entrance to the police station in the wake of the attack in
Leipzig  Germany

It is not too much to ask that the nation’s leaders begin to show respect to law enforcement officers. The policymakers are not above the laws and they deserve not one ounce of deference not given to the police.
The country will be embarking on a process of building a new Parliament building soon, every precaution will be made to secure it so that the 63 bums who sit in the lower house and those in the upper chamber, of both political gangs, are secure.
If the police cannot be secure in their places of work the parliament building should be no more secure than a police station is.
Politicians of both political gangs should be exposed to the very same degree of danger, so that gunshots can burn their skins as it does the average Jamaican.
This is an outrage…..