New Crime Plan…

A sev­en-point anti-crime plan — with heavy empha­sis on intel­li­gence, foren­sics, cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and anti-cor­rup­tion, which will bring togeth­er the best minds to tack­le Jamaica’s most debil­i­tat­ing prob­lem — was on Thursday pre­sent­ed by Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson, along with mem­bers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) High Command, dur­ing a Gleaner Editors’ Forum.
Though the Government has been hound­ed for an effec­tive strat­e­gy for fight­ing crime since tak­ing office in 2016, Deputy Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, head of the police Corporate Communications Unit, said a bud­getary increase pred­i­cat­ed on the anti-crime strate­gies was includ­ed in this year’s esti­mates of expen­di­ture.
The plan will see an over­haul of the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), which spe­cial­izes in secu­ri­ty intel­li­gence and col­lab­o­rates with local and inter­na­tion­al law-enforce­ment agen­cies. The NIB also pro­vides intel­li­gence to the offi­cer corps and oper­a­tional units and was itself an over­haul of the JCF Special Branch.
Anderson, who has been in the post for over a year, out­lined a care­ful plan of action, to be done in three-month phas­es, but all run­ning con­cur­rent­ly.
The strat­e­gy includes mir­ror image rec­om­men­da­tions of the Strategic Review done in 2008, which pro­posed, inter alia, a road map for tack­ling cor­rup­tion, inter­nal and exter­nal account­abil­i­ty, a more effec­tive lead­er­ship and man­age­ment arrange­ment, to include improve­ment to inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and a sig­nif­i­cant upgrade to the phys­i­cal struc­tures used by the JCF. The wel­fare of the men and women who ‘serve and pro­tect’ will also receive an added boost, which will now be han­dled by com­mand cen­tral com­ple­ment­ing the role of the Police Federation.

The pro­posed nation­al secu­ri­ty tac­tic is anchored on sev­en pillars.“They are crime reduc­tion and con­trol; improv­ing pub­lic safe­ty and cit­i­zen secu­ri­ty; orga­ni­za­tion­al restruc­tur­ing and capac­i­ty build­ing; enhanc­ing staff wel­fare; enhanc­ing pro­fes­sion­al stan­dards; effi­cien­cy through tech­nol­o­gy; and com­mu­ni­ca­tion and pub­lic engage­ment,” the com­mis­sion­er told the team of edi­tors and jour­nal­ists at The Gleaner’s North Street, Kingston office.
This was just days after police sta­tis­tics revealed that there was an increase in mur­ders, which threat­ens gains made with the intro­duc­tion of the state of emer­gency in three high-crime west­ern parish­es, and the con­tin­u­a­tion of zones of spe­cial oper­a­tions in two trou­bled com­mu­ni­ties.
“Our aim is to make Jamaica safe. And at the top of that is our con­cern about the num­ber of per­sons who die in Jamaica, which is some­thing that we real­ly need to get a han­dle on and deal with. For us as the police force, what we see as a sta­tis­tic of mur­der is very real. Those are real peo­ple who have been killed. We see every­one who is mur­dered in situ. We go to every scene and we are unique in that regard. We are the only ones who do that,” he not­ed.
Anderson said any mur­der was dis­heart­en­ing, hence, a major thrust of the JCF was geared towards reduc­ing that while tack­ling the wider, con­nect­ed issues.

TARGETED STRATEGIES


In March 2018, when he assumed the force’s top job, at the fore­front of his mind was the 1,643 per­sons mur­dered the pre­vi­ous year, and that year’s already high fig­ures.
His strate­gies then includ­ed focus­ing on polic­ing the new school year amid a flur­ry of road law­less­ness, which involved train­ing sev­er­al traf­fic cops.
Anderson also took aim at strength­en­ing the inves­tiga­tive arm of the force — then under the direc­tor­ship of Deputy Commissioner Selvin Hay — with a seri­ous push towards dis­man­tling gangs, which includ­ed inves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions of mem­bers.
One such is the mul­ti­ple-mem­ber Uchence Wilson Gang, which is cur­rent­ly before the courts and whose mem­bers are being pros­e­cut­ed under the Anti-Gang Legislation.

This year saw him tar­get­ing the inspec­torate of the con­stab­u­lary, with the rede­vel­op­ment of the JCF’s inter­nal anti-cor­rup­tion capa­bil­i­ty, which became the remit of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA).“MOCA is obvi­ous­ly look­ing at big issues of cor­rup­tion across gov­ern­ment, and so to look at our own issues inter­nal­ly, it is crit­i­cal that we have our own capa­bil­i­ties. DCP Hay is in the process of devel­op­ing and build­ing that capa­bil­i­ty,” the com­mis­sion­er said.

Internal admin­is­tra­tive process­es and the wel­fare of the men and women under his com­mand are now Anderson’s focus. Jamaica-Eye — the Government’s much-tout­ed CCTV cam­eras crime reduc­tion tool, using eyes instead of boots — is cur­rent­ly being opti­mized and improve­ments are under­way for a work­ing roll-out by September. Much of the hard­ware will be replaced, many of which are out­dat­ed.
“How we use foren­sics, cyber foren­sics, DNA, bal­lis­tics, fin­ger­print, and relat­ed foren­sics are crit­i­cal. Last year, we took 5,457 crime-scene exhibits for DNA analy­sis; we also test­ed 9,275 indi­vid­ual sam­ples. In terms of dig­i­tal devices and data, through cyber foren­sics, we processed 3,395 devices, and this year we have done approx­i­mate­ly 1,500,” Anderson stat­ed. At least 1,037 bal­lis­tic sam­ples from crime scenes were done last year, some of which have helped to solve cold cas­es. Arrests as a result of transna­tion­al inves­ti­ga­tions have also been made.DCP Hay and Assistant Commissioner Kevin Blake are cur­rent­ly work­ing on estab­lish­ing effec­tive plat­forms for the pub­lic to com­mu­ni­cate with the con­stab­u­lary. The top brass is all in agree­ment with the JCF’s guid­ing prin­ci­ples. “The first is the rule of law, the sec­ond is respect for all, and third is that we are a force for good,” stat­ed the top cop.