If you start out from Harbor View to get to Morant point, but you head west, you may eventually get to Morant Point, but it will take a lot longer than if you headed East.
This is so because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Understandably, it is not always easiest to follow a straight line to get to where we want to be, but that doesn’t mean we should waste precious time and resources going round and round in circles.
I saw recently that there has been another police shakeup, at the higher levels of the JCF. Coincidentally this has come at a time when violent crimes have been on the increase across the Island, as well as in the various Police Divisions in the Kingston Metropolitan area.
According to the local Observer, (eleven of the 19 police divisions have so far reported more murders than last year, with a 100 percent spike in the Kingston Central Police Division 16 up from 8) and a 90 percent increase in Manchester (19 up from 10).
(There were 675 murders across the island since the start of this year; four more than the 671 recorded over the same period last year. Other serious and violent crimes — shooting, and aggravated assault — are also up when compared to last year. Rape is the only exception, running below the 2018 figure).[Observer.com]
*I will come back to the *Manchester Police division* that particular division is germane to the point of this article.
(There have been 660 reported cases of shooting so far this year, 11 percent above 2018; while the 183 cases of aggravated assault so far for 2019 are a tick above the 182 cases recorded over the corresponding period last year. The police also recorded 257 rape cases in the first six months of this year, a shade below the 263 up to June 29, 2018). [Observer.comThere is a consistent pattern which is unmistakable about crime in our beautiful Island. It is that despite the ebb and flow, and the fluctuations, crime does continue to increase, even if not by way of a straight upward trajectory.
As I hinted in the opening paragraph, crime is getting more and more out of hand, even though it may not be heading in a straight line.
With that said, it is important to consider that there have been myriad police shakeups and transfers at every level of the Constabulary, including the constant changing of theCommissioner of Police.
Additionally, Ministers of [National Security] also continue to be victims of this seemingly untamable beast called violent crime. In this shuffle, numerous people, some of them decent public servants, have had their careers called into question, not because of their capabilities or lack thereof, but because our nation has been approaching this crime issue all wrong.
The Police high command has never been a collective unit on which one could put much stock, or bet on. This is so because, in fairness to the members, the unit is a part of a pyramid. The person at the top gives out directives and the underlings are required to execute those orders without having an opinion.
This top-down approach is used to execute political directives to the Police Department, which are generally light on actual police input.
This undemocratic, autocratic environment is an incubator for the robotic, non-critical thinking which has infested the high command like cancer. Additionally, it created a cesspool of unprofessional pushing and shoving and news carrying, as members jockey to be next in line for advancement.
Actual critical-thinking on finding and executing real solutions for the crisis at hand becomes a casualty.
Not all of the officers are slouches however, there are actual thinkers among the crop of people in the gazetted ranks, (the khaki brigade). But the system in place is not conducive to critical thinking, it is a cesspool of groupthink.
Good officers who could make a difference if allowed to act on their own are forced to follow policies which they know will have no effect. Several Parishes have good commanders but they lack the resources and the power to execute what they know will work.
*Manchester has a great commanding officer in the person of Superintendent (Wayne Cameron), there are other commanders who are doing their best in a bad system. Despite their best efforts, crime in their divisions has also gone up.
- The way crime is being approached in Jamaica will have to go through a complete metamorphosis. I have said this every time I broach this subject.
We are approaching crime the way that the Americans are approaching Health care. Despite spending tons more on health care many experts say the Americans are engaged in (sick-Care) instead of preventative care.
- Jamaica has a crime strategy which is criminally focused, rather than victim-focused.
- Throw out all of the nonsense that the so-called experts at the UWI tell you about how to approach dealing with crime. Fighting crime, though now requiring greater and greater scientific input, is really not rocket science.
- Our crime strategy is focused on the protection of the rights of accused and convicted criminals, instead of on the rights of crime victims and their families.
- Politicians and their experts, as well as an ever-growing criminal rights lobby, tell law enforcement what it cannot do to criminals they are seeking, regardless of the gruesome nature of the crimes they are alleged to have committed.
- When arrested, habeas corpus dictates, ensures that they have to see a judge in short order or they have to be released.
- While awaiting trial, even for murder, (in Jamaica they are allowed out on bail).
- If not tried in a timely manner, the (Justice Minister) openly lobbies that the case is thrown out of court. (Even murderers).
- If convicted they are allowed to do as they please while incarcerated, if they are musicians they are allowed to continue recording and distribution of their murder music, (even murderers). They are allowed to have cellphones, and they even call in hits on witnesses and continue to run their criminal enterprises from inside.
- Every protection and deference is given to those who transgress the laws. No one cares about the victims of crime or those who survive those who became fatal statistics.
- Were the emphasis reversed and efforts concentrated on the protection of potential victims,(a) through better and enhanced policing, assisted by greater legislative support, (ie) longer sentences for murderers and other violent offenders, (b) removing discretion for certain categories of violent crime from judges, through truth in sentencing legislation.
- Creating a better police department through enhanced training techniques, better remuneration as a countermeasure to corruption.
- Repealing the INDECOM Act and using that budget toward training and equipping the police.
- Go back to a policing accountability mechanism which has intelligent actors on board who understand policing, but they must also be free of personal or other agendas.
- Creating an education Campaign, using Government mediums à la (JIS) on a continuüm, in helping in the fight against crime. One of the greatest problems the police faces in enforcing the nation’s laws is the illiteracy yet highly opinionated nature of the population.
- This ignorance has been left untended for decades, and now we have generations who actually have no idea what their obligations are, particularly when dealing with law enforcement officers
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, a business owner, avid researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He also writes occasionally for the website Medium.com.
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