LETTER OF THE DAY – JCF Refuses To Reform

Published: Wednesday | September 1, 20105 Comments



The heirachy of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has never been receptive to new ideas, neither to listen to them nor to implement them. The evidence of this is the high attrition rate from the agency, yours truly being one that decided to leave.

Our country continues to struggle with a police department that though scrutinized and held up to ridicule many, refuses to get it.

Members of the JCF, on a consistent basis, have continued to engage in activities that make even someone like me, one of their most ardent supporters, cringe.

The Police Academy, in light of these occurrences, should seek to revamp its curriculum as it is clear it does not work. There are ample examples where it is absolutely clear that officers, young and old, are making critical mistakes that mushroom out of control to the detriment of all involved, including the taxpayers.

Latest incident

I speak of the Buckfield, St Ann, incident, as well as the latest incident where a young officer was shot and killed, allegedly by his colleagues.

There has always been simple safeguards that eliminate any opportunity for the occurrence of either of these two incidents. Police officers are duty-bound, once they have arrested someone ,to ensure that  prisoner’s safe transportation to a jail. The State through its agents, must ensure the safety of prisoners for the duration of their incarceration.

Had the officers involved in the Buckfield shooting, two or three of them, got down on the ground and subdued that alleged murderer, properly handcuffed and removed him from the scene in a professional manner, the accused would be alive, and they would not be facing murder charges.

Had the officers, once they arrested their colleague, properly adhered to international policing protocols and placed him in handcuffs, as well as properly secured the weapon seized from him, we would not be having this discussion.

Surrendering control

The cop on motorized patrol who decides to pull a motorist over, with two, three, or even more occupants, then makes  the grave mistake of ordering all occupants to exit the car, places himself, his partner, as well as all occupants of the car in harm’s way, he just gave up control of the situation.

This lack of following proper procedure falls on the middle managers of the JCF, they do not ensure that officers going out on patrol have their batons, handcuffs, flashlights, pepper spray, and other non-lethal tools that are now in their arsenal. In addition, supervisors must visit younger police personnel on patrol to ensure that procedures are being observed. Only then will we begin to see a decrease in these incidents.


Mr. Beckles, I find your presentation interesting; however, you seem unaware of the fact that closed-mindedness is rampant in Jamaica. If a leaf is declared to green, not many of us would agree that the same leaf has the potential to become brown tomorrow. Very disciplined, intelligent members of the Force do experience a certain degree of resentment from their colleagues, but that is not unique. That is a common cry.

  • I should also point out that I disagree with your perspective on the appropriate procedure in bringing the accused to justice. If the firearm was takewn from him without any physical or verbal resistance, and there was no possibility of re-offending, and, assuming that he could be found, he should have been summoned. There are strick rules in the use of handcuffs, I am told.

    The same procedure is applicable for civilian offenders, if they are unlikely to re-offend, do not have a fix placed of abode or unlikely to turn up in court.

    Arrests, according to a certain source, should be a last resort.

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      mike beckles  Marcus Garvey ll • 3 years ago

      Sir I am a former trained Police Officer and a former Detective of the JCF I also successfully passed their accelerated Promotional examination, I aced all the exams I sat for promotion for the duration of the time I spent in the Department so I think I know something about how an arrest is to be effected.
      It is not a discretionary thing to reduce/eliminate occurrences of this nature everyone being arrested must be placed in handcuffs, this is international police protocol, it is this mentality of Jamaicans,to give a bly,this one won’t resist, or run away or grab a gun , to remove any doubt, everyone must be handcuffed in order to eliminate those possibilities.
      Sorry sir I am not told, that is the way it should be done, it is issued for arrests, period.

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    Carla • 3 years ago

    This is so true, and well said. I do hope JCF leaders read it.

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    Midtowner • 3 years ago

    Haven’t you ever interacted with policemen? Have you listened to their spokesmen at the scenes of crimes. Seriously, don’t they sound “mis-educated” to you? Do they do intelligent things on the road? I am not saying that there aren’t intelligent ones but I have rarely had any encounter with one of them. Anyway most of them appear lazy and distracted.

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    Rick Berns • 3 years ago

    LETTER OF THE DAY – JCF refuses to reform
    My colleague, I fail to see, based on your argugment, what is wrong with police training. To my certain knowledge, all these procedures are taught at the police training school now, and has always been taught.

    I do agre with the rest; poor management and supervision of officers on duty.