How The JCF Could Learn To Do More With Less

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has long lamented the shortage or absence of resources to get the job done effectively.


Police Station ,Constant Spring:

Recently the Force announced it was operating with 50% of the resources it needs to get the job done. Having served in the JCF I understand the seriousness of not having even the most basic resource to do the job.
On the other hand, I was also a witness to the JCF’s lack of management, which resulted in exceptional waste and duplication of efforts, further complicating the resource issue.
These waste generally are clear, first in the quality of a portion of the Force, there have always been too many officers who should find alternative employment. This is attributable to their laziness, lack of focus, lack of integrity, lack of love for the job, lack of commitment to the cause. There are legitimate arguments to be made for a lack of commitment. I would simply argue that though those arguments are legitimate, they are not reason enough to be a slacker. Those opposed to working for the wages, or are offended by other situations are free to leave.
Then there is the treatment of the vehicles, which generally are not suited to Jamaica’s terrain, no fault of the Police and secondly the round the clock operation of the vehicles, again this is not something that should reasonably be pinned on the department, it is attributable to the shortage.

The way patrols are done is ineffective and counter-productive even. This needs a complete reassessment. On the general issue of waste, the same arguments may be made about many businesses and agencies in Jamaica and other countries. Jamaica simply cannot afford it. When both sides of the resource issue are considered, the truth lies somewhere in between the two sides, with a leaning toward not nearly enough of anything to do the job. With that said the true test of any manager or management company, is to do the best job possible with limited resources.

In the American civil war between North and  South, Union General, Westmoreland complained to President Abraham Lincoln about not having enough Troops to attack the Confederate South, Lincoln replaced Westmoreland with General Ulysses S  Grant. We all know that Grant won the war saving and cementing the Union and the United States as we know it today. My point is that Jamaica is a poor developing country, many people will challenge me even on the notion of Jamaica being a developing country. There will never be enough resource to go around. Neither political party is particularly fond of the rule of law, in fact, some of the people at the highest level of Government/Opposition are criminals, or at a bare minimum, maintain criminal contact. They do not want a professional competent and independent police department.

Late 1987 I was temporally transferred to Constant Spring along with three other men, Allen Gauntlet, Keith Skully and O Marston otherwise called (Fat-Ball), Marston was somewhat portly, hence the moniker. None of us was full transferred in Force Orders from The Mobile Reserve where we were officially stationed, we were simply sent to fill the vacuüm which was left from the transfer of then Detective Sargent Cornwall (bigga) Ford, a legend, who had just been transferred to the Flying Squad, based at the Kingston Central Police compound.

For the record, never let anyone tell you that name brand-cops do nothing to bend the crime curve south. Determined criminals have escalated crime, determined cops bend the curve south. 

Throughout our country’s history, there have been notoriously dangerous criminals, these men have largely gained their notoriety, through different means, brutality, callousness, aided and abetted by sympathetic members of the public, Politics, corrupt-cops, the terrain of our country, and other means. Conversely we have produced determined cops who knew how to remove criminals from the streets, Cops like Keith (trinity) Gardener, Joe Williams, Anthony Hewitt, Altimoth (parra) Campbell, Isiah Laing, are some of the more recognizable names, of course there are men, and yes Women, Like Hortense Brown, who in many cases were just as effective, Dick Hibbert, Ruddy Dwyer, Benjamin, O C Hare, and a long line of valiant soldiers of urban policing who understood our country’s terrorists and how to deal with them.

The men and women whom I did not mention need not doubt their contribution to our country’s stability, you know yourselves, the point was about the most celebrated, the most well known. I never wore , neither did I ever see a bullet-proof vest during my decade of service from 1982 to 1992, we did not have computers, we did not even have type-writers, at the Constant Spring CIB which serves some of the most depressed communities and some of the most upscale, we did not have a typewriter. I suggested to detective Sergeant McInnis that we use colored pins and a map of our geographical responsibility to assist us. Different color pins represented different types of crimes. Red for murder, blue for rapes, green for break-ins, yellow for shootings and so on. This very simple, unsophisticated method, allowed us to see, in real terms, what type of crimes were being committed where. Complainants supplied us with the when, it made it easier for us to find the who. I sought and gained permission to approach interested parties operating in our precinct, and asked for old discarded type-writers. Business-people were more than happy to give us usable type-writers and desks, this made the demand from the khaki-clad clowns for a torrent of paper-work more possible. At the time I was at the CIB office, they demanded 5 copies of all crimes committed in the Parish of St. Thomas, St. Catherine and St. Andrew North, which constituted Police Area 5.

It generally took hours to record the crimes from St Catherine, a single detective working the office on any given night would start writing as soon as he entered the office at 8: pm sometimes he would still be writing at 9: am when the morning shift arrived and sometimes, long after. All of those crimes in detail had to be recorded by hand and duplicated 5 times. I came up with the novel idea of carbon paper, they put the brakes on that complaining that carbon created smudges, which rendered the document illegible, so it was back to writing and writing and writing. One copy for the Commissioner’s Office, one for the Divisional Officer, one for the Area Officer, one for the crime chief. one for the Divisional Detective Inspector. A colossal waste of paper and manpower to largely satisfy the egos of lazy pompous overweight dead-woods.

My point in all of this is this. The Commissioner will never have all the resources he needs, what he does have is the infinite resource called the brain. Commissioner Ellington must develop strategies in conjunction with capable officers at his disposal, to stop the scourge of crime. That will not get done with most of the khaki-clad crew he has, most should be retired to save tax-payers money. Pushing paper, or sitting behind a desk is not policing. Most of these people, some I served with, are more concerned with the way a piece of fools-cap paper is folded, so they may write nonsense on it, than how to remove criminals from the streets. In fact, many of them never arrested anyone, never been to court, but they are career cops, and don’t ever let them hear an explosion, Usain Bolt would have to seriously struggle to keep his world record. No wonder the country is inundated with crime, the khaki-clad clowns are more corrupt, more corroded by politics than the young men. Money is the only thing which flows upstream.I would be happy to supply the Commissioner with a detailed plan, outlining how to reduce crime by 20 to 30% in the first year.  By the time the second year comes around, crime will begin to take a serious trend downwards.