About 184 members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) were relieved of their positions in the organization this year, for unprofessional conduct, says Head of the Anti-Corruption Branch, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Justin Felice.
Speaking at a media briefing at the Police Officers’ Club, Hope Road, Kingston on Thursday (December 8), ACP Felice pointed out that their removal forms part of a zero tolerance approach by the High Command to unethical behaviour, as outlined in the JCF’s 3-year Anti-Corruption Strategy (2010 to 2012).
ACP Felice said that of the 184 police removed, 133 of them, ranked between Constable and Inspector, were refused re-enlistment as their conduct was not seen as consistent with the JCF’s dictates. Another 28 were retired in the public’s interest, having been deemed “not good enough” to remain in the JCF by virtue of inappropriate actions.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Anti-Corruption Branch, Justin Felice (centre), fielding questions at a media briefing at the Police Officers’ Club, Hope Road, Kingston on Thursday (December 9).At left is JCF Director of Communications, Karl Angell, and at right deputy head of the Anti-Corruption Branch, Acting Senior Superintendent Selvin Hay.
He disclosed that there were still a number of files at the Police Service Commission, in respect of senior and junior officers, still awaiting decisions, some going back “some considerable amount of time”.
The remaining 23 were dismissed, as a result of investigations implicating them in illicit activities.
He disclosed that the Anti-Corruption Branch arrested and charged 83 persons implicated in acts of corruption over the 11-month period, January-November, of which 56 were police officers. The remaining 27 were civilians deemed to have attempted to corrupt police officers, or who acted in collusion with JCF members in committing corruption. Thirteen of them have been charged.
He also reported an increase in the number of reports to the Anti-Corruption Branch about illicit police activities, particularly from the public. He attributed this to increased “confidence and comfort” felt by the public in filing reports, without fear of their identity being exposed.
“For example, the 1-800-corrupt line has been a very successful initiative, where members of the public or police officers can ring up and report allegations of wrongdoing, totally anonymously, and without any fear of their identity exposed,” he stated
The senior officer also pointed to the establishment of the Polygraph Unit, as part of the anti-corruption strategy. It is being used, among other things, to assist in identifying appropriate personnel for placement in sensitive positions, such as dealing with matters like transnational and organized crimes. He disclosed that 361 members of the JCF have been polygraphed since 2010.
Establishment of an Ethics Committee in August also forms part of the JCF anti-corruption strategy, ACP Felice said. The Committee, of which he is a member, is chaired by a Deputy Commissioner and comprises senior officers from various divisions.
“This Ethics Committee examines officers’ ethics and standards, prior to any promotion within the organization. Currently, the organization is going through an examination process, looking at promoting people to the ranks of Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Senior Superintendent and Superintendent,” he stated.
ACP Felice said, however, that while he is encouraged with the progress and achievements attained so far, the JCF needs to do much more to address the problem.
“We can’t turn this around straight away; it’s going to take a long time. But, I am encouraged and I know that the Police Commissioner is encouraged by the progress that we are making so far. So we’re moving ahead quite well. We need to be more accountable, we need to be more transparent, and we will be pushing for that,” ACP Felice assured.