JIS News

The Government has spent approximately $9.7 billion on capital investments in national security over the last eight years.

Making his contribution to the 2023/24 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives recently, Prime Minister, the Most. Hon. Andrew Holness, said that the sum is an increase over the approximately $3.2 billion spent over the eight-year period prior to 2016.

“We have invested three times as much in security than any previous administration, but… still there is a long way to go to build the capacity of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), and Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), to be at the level where they can effectively control and reduce crime in a sustainable way. We can report significant progress in the buildout of our security forces,” he said.

Highlighting work undertaken to build the capacity of the JCF, the Prime Minister noted that 134 police facilities out of a targeted 200 have either been newly built, refurbished, expanded or are in progress under Project Repair, Overhaul and Construct (ROC).

“This year, we will start the process to construct a new divisional headquarters in Spanish Town for St. Catherine North and a new divisional headquarters for Westmoreland. By the end of the project this Administration would have significantly improved the built infrastructure of the JCF, improved the working conditions of its members and the quality of service to the public,” he noted.

Additionally, Prime Minister Holness said further work will be undertaken to expand the JCF’s radio communication and microwave network, and implement the Station Records Management System, which is being rolled out at 23 locations, with another 120 locations to go live by the end of the 2023/2024 fiscal year.

Provision has also been made for acquisition of the Multi-biometric Identification System (MBIS) to facilitate efficient processing of criminal records, and procurement of a Command, Communications, Computation, Control, Coordination (C5) Centre, which will connect and integrate Jamaica Eye, communications and traffic management and other public safety electronic systems into one intelligent processing area.

The Prime Minister told the House that the JCF has also increased its size from approximately 11,000 to close to approximately 13,000 over the past two years under its improved recruitment and training programme.

“On average, the JCF is now recruiting 1,250 trainees per year. Approximately 400 to 450 members retire, or otherwise leave the force per year. Currently, we net approximately 800 additional members per year. For the first time in decades, we are growing the force, not only in number of recruits but in the quality of the personnel joining,” Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister noted that the JCF also received its first ISO9001 certification last year.

Turning to the JDF, he said the army continues to support the JCF in security operations, generally, and within Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO), along with the efforts of the Joint Anti-Gang Task Force, yielding the recovery of more than 350 illegal weapons.

He informed that in the specialised area of cybersecurity, the JDF is establishing a Cyber Academy to train personnel and create a professional workforce for cybersecurity and defence for the Jamaican Government and industry.

“This is an area in which we are woefully short of skills, and the first cohort should commence in the coming fiscal year,” the Prime Minister told the House.

He disclosed that in the new fiscal year, the JDF will receive two additional offshore patrol vessels to strengthen maritime domain awareness and control over the country’s territorial waters.

He informed that the JDF is also managing the ongoing buildout of the Coastal Surveillance System that includes long range radars to help secure the country’s 1,022 kilometres of coastline, among other things.

Skip to content