Let’s establish some facts in this Machiavellian process of selecting a Commissioner of police presently before the Police Services Commission (PSC).
(1) If the Prime Minister and or the Minister of National Security tells you they do not know who will be next Commissioner of police they are lying to you.
(2) The Prime Minister knows who he wants to hold that office regardless of who applies. If you believe that a Commissioner of Police is ever going to be selected by the (PSC) and foisted onto the Prime Minister I have a bridge to sell you, in fact, I’ll throw in the flat bridge free of charge in the deal.
Furthermore, even if the Prime Minister and or the Minister of National Security did not have advanced knowledge of who would be selected, is there a single person alive who believes that the PM would not simply pick up the phone to speak to the head of the PSC to make his views known?
These observations are not meant to criticize the PM for wanting whom he wants to be commissioner of police. Unlike many people, I believe that the Nation’s Prime Minister’s number one job is to keep the nation safe.
On that basis and that basis alone the Prime Minister, [regardless of party,] ought to have a free hand in selecting the best person in his/her estimation to execute whatever strategies he/she has for completing that mandate.
I have no quarrel with a Commissioner of [police coming onboard with political connections, political connections and labels have not hindered them from doing their jobs effectively in other countries, it shouldn’t negate their potential in Jamaica.
The idea that a Commissioner of Police will make much of a difference in Jamaica’s toxic environment is the epitome of naïveté ^. It’s the equivalence of sending a poorly equipped, untrained army to do battle with their hands tied behind their backs but nonetheless led by a newly minted General.
To foist someone onto the police who has not come up through the ranks and have their trust and respect in my estimation is a clear sign that there is no intent to beginning the arduous task of rolling back violent crime.
If anyone believes that morale is an insignificant characteristic in bodies in which cohesion and stick-to-itiveness are required they are wrong.
Believing that it can be disregarded in military and police forces is bordering on lunacy.
There are two Prime Ministers who have led Jamaica who will be on my shit list forever. The two are Percival James Patterson of the PNP and Orett Bruce Golding of the JLP.
The unmitigated truth in this blame game which has landed on the doorsteps of the police is that the department was never given the tools to succeed.
Success for the JCF would have meant no illicit wealth for the Island’s political class after they were handed the reins of the country.
The corruption in Jamaica has relatives in Africa, Central and South America and other colonized parts of the world. The new bosses were not about to embark on a process of law and order, they had to enrich themselves.
Neither men are solely responsible for crime in our country per se, but Patterson presided over the most dramatic period of rot in our culture which resulted in the greatest growth in lawlessness and violent crimes and the destruction of the JCF.
Bruce Golding watched it happen and when he took office he did not have a plan to fix it, in fact, he took actions which had the opposite effect of fixing the problems, a‑la INDECOM et al, his tenure was particularly harmful to the rule of law. Jamaica was well served when he was forced to step aside.
The challenges facing the Constabulary will certainly not be remedied by changing the Commissioner, that’s like putting a shiny new cover on a leaky old pot.
The structural deficiencies which the police department faces are inherently different than a teacher not having the requisite number of textbooks to effectively teach a class.
Cops cannot answer calls if they have no cars.
One of the key ways in which I thought the police could improve its service delivery over the years has been in response time. People are consoled immensely when they have an idea that when they call the police the police is going to be there in quick time.
As a citizen, there can be no greater fear than to be in trouble with no recourse or expectation of help coming from the police.
Over the years I have called for seniors to drive their own cars and leave the vehicles at the station to service the needs of the citizens they serve.
I can tell you that as members of the CIB stationed at the Constant Spring Police Station Dadrick Henry and myself made it our duty to try to be at the scene as soon as was humanly possible after receiving directives from police control.
As consequence, citizens knew when Dadrick Henry and I were working because of our dedication to answering calls as quickly as possible.
That area of police service delivery is only one component but it is a critical component in the reassurance of the people who depend on the police for their safety and security.
It must be understood that when citizens cannot depend on the police to come to their rescue, to their defense, come to their aid, they are forced to acquiesce to the demands of the criminal underworld.
What we have seen over the last three decades in our country has been a paradigm shift in the loyalty of the populace from the police to the gangs and Dons.
The reason for this is that this universe does not like vacuums if the police are unable to fill the security needs of the population they have to make friends with those they would not normally be friendly to. It is a matter of survival in many cases.
I suggest that the next Commissioner of police look at response time as his/her first priority, this will go a long way in bringing some reassurance to a skeptical populace and would be an important deterrent to those who break our laws.