Commissioner of Police, George Quallo, says members of the force must redouble their efforts in building good community relations, noting that it is still one of the most effective tools in crime-fighting.
Mr. Quallo, who was addressing the Jamaica Police Federation’s 74th Annual Joint Central Conference in St. James on May 9, said that “now is not the time to abandon such a tried-and-proven practice, adding that “we risk giving up a huge advantage in taking the fight to the criminals”.
“My challenge to the superintendents, the inspectors and every rank and file member is for you to get back to the basics,” the Commissioner said.
“Start to get back your feet fully grounded. Start to rebuild the trust and confidence of the people… . That is the only way they will feel comfortable to tell you what is going on,” he added.
Commissioner Quallo said he can recall in the early says when there were regular visits to schools by the police, and relationships were formed with the church, farmers and other interest groups.
“I remember when I was the commanding officer in Manchester where there were many evenings when we would be up in the hills talking to the people,” he noted.
“What it did was allow us to build relationships, and the people would share with us what they know. There would be no protecting of criminals and wrongdoers. They would tell us what is happening in their neck of the woods. The school is no different and the church is no different. It is critical that we go back to basics and start rebuilding these relationships,” he said.
The Commissioner called on members to support each other, while speaking out against wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner expressed concern that persons who are up for promotions are being held back or stifled as a result of outstanding disciplinary matters that have been on the books for years, and with no resolution in sight.
“Many times, persons are nominated from their division for courses or to participate in promotion exercises, and what you hear is that the person has six or seven orderly room charges pending,” he pointed out.
“What I did…was sign a nice little thing and send it to all divisional commanders and formations to say that all orderly room matters in excess of a year must be withdrawn. I want to be clear. I am not saying all orderly room charges, as of now, that go beyond a year will be withdrawn. This is a one-off thing, as we want to give everybody a clean slate to start all over,” the Commissioner said.