JIS News

At least 100 community police officers were deployed islandwide recently, as the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) increases its effort to build better relationships between citizens and the police.
This disclosure was made by Assistant Commissioner of Police, John McLean, who heads the Community Safety and Security Branch of the JCF, during a recent interview with JIS News.
“I would like to see a deployment in the 38 communities we have identified definitely before July of this year, and I am very hopeful we will have [at least] 100 police officers out there dedicated to community policing,” Mr. McLean said.
“On top of that, [community] leaders and managers will be trained to give support to the initiative, and other officers who are not directly involved in dedicated community policing will also be undergoing training, so we have got a big programme of community policing to develop and roll out over the coming months,” he explained.
According to Mr. McLean, there are already 80 officers trained from parishes such as Portland, St. Thomas, Trelawny, St. James, St. Catherine,
St. Andrew and Kingston, and another 20 are currently undergoing two weeks of training in Negril, Westmoreland.
“We have only a small number deployed so far, mainly in St. Thomas and St. Catherine South. The others are in the planning stage, so we can get ready to deploy them in the next few weeks, plus there will be additional officers who are about to start the training or will undergo the training in the next few weeks,” he added.
He also explained that the number of police officers deployed to each community would differ, depending on a variety of reasons, including the size of the community and the progress of the relationship between police and citizens.
“Their job is to foster relationships with the community and the other agencies, develop a profile of the area, identify the challenges and the issues and work with the community to resolve them,” Mr. McLean said.
“Community policing is about building trust and relationships between the police and the community and vice versa, because very often there are people saying that they don’t trust the police and that will only be resolved through sustained long term interaction, communication and co-operation between the citizens and the police, which allow them to develop trust,” he pointed out.
According to the Assistant Commissioner, the impact of the officers should be felt soon after they are deployed.
“I think you will see an impact fairly soon. The relationship and the confidence in the police and the community will develop very quickly in those communities where it is happening and I think in the longer term, other things will happen which will lead to improvement of policing services and [although] some of them may take months to a year, things will start to happen and the quality of policing and community policing relations will improve,” he assured.
He said this should eventually lead to a reduction in crime, “as crime prevention and joint problem solving come into play and people work together to reduce crime.”
Some communities to benefit from the presence of the community police officers include Seaforth in St. Thomas; Portmore Villa in St. Catherine South and March Pen Road in St. Catherine North.
Community police officers are trained in areas such as problem solving, building community trust, being proactive rather than reactive, basic physical and social crime prevention strategies, which complement the JCF’s Community Policing Manual published in January this year.