JIS News

Since its establishment in 2005, the Internal Affairs/Anti-Corruption Division of the Professional Standards Branch (PSB) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), has been successful in dealing with incidences of police abuse and professional misconduct swiftly and transparently.
In an interview with JIS News, Commanding Officer at the Division, Superintendent Dathan Henry, noted that the division’s success was evident in the number of police officers who have been convicted for breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act.
He pointed out that in 2005, some 35 members of the JCF were arrested for acts of corruption that were deemed criminal, while a further 58 members were arrested in 2006. Since the start of this year, another four members have been arrested on corruption charges.
The Division’s attempts to rid the JCF of corrupt members, he said, have been strengthened by members of the public who have come forward to report incidences of police abuse and misconduct, as well as efforts by the PSB to educate and train police officers in areas of accountability and transparency.
“We have a lot of training seminars to get our sub-officers and officers to understand the fundamental issues involved in the principle of accountability and transparency. These training seminars are also designed to improve supervision at all levels.
What we have noticed is if there are proper supervision and better management practices.. a number of complaints of dishonesty and corrupt conduct could have been these training seminars are intended to do just that,” Superintendent Henry said.
Another anti-corruption strategy that the division has employed is to educate members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force about the implications of corruption and actions that are considered as corrupt practices.
“Basically, we visit divisions and area headquarters of non-geographic divisions, where we speak to our members explaining to them the issue of corruption, and how it undermines the integrity of the organisation. We tell them how corruption destabilizes our own professionalism and how it impacts on the individual when people look at you, and label you as a corrupt officer. We also encourage them to report any unethical or professional misconduct to the PSB,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Henry is appealing to members of the public to report all cases of corruption to the Professional Standards Branch. “A corrupt police force cannot serve the nation and it undermines not only the force but our democracy. If a police officer is involved in misconduct, try and get all the details of the incident,” he advised.
“Get the officer’s regulation number, this is the number that is worn on the chest of the policeman, or if he or she is wearing a bullet proof vest, it is written in white on the back and front of the vest. You should also get vehicle numbers, time of day, place where the incident occurred as well as any other observable physical evidence that will assist us in conducting our investigations,” the Superintendent added.
Some actions considered to be corrupt practices include: accepting bribes for not opposing bail or for not bringing charges; theft from premises; extortion (using undue influence to get money); the misuse of police authority for personal gain; any activity by the police, which compromises or has the potential to compromise his/her ability to enforce the law or to provide other services impartially; the protection of illicit activities from police enforcement, whether or not the member’s involvement is promoting the business of one person, whilst discouraging that of another person.
Superintendent Henry noted that those who may be fearful of repercussions from having exposed corrupt practices, they could receive protection under the government’s Witness Protection Programme.
“Come forward and we will ensure that if a threat is made and you report it, we will take steps to have you protected. We can recommend that persons be placed in the witness protection programme. Even if after our assessment, we think that a threat is not likely to happen, we will still ask the person if he or she still wishes to go on the programme. They can refuse, but the offer will always be made,” he said.
Persons who have encountered or know of acts of corruption or misconduct can report it by calling toll free 1-888-1-STOP IT or 1-888-4-PROTEC. They may also contact the anti-corruption division by calling: 967- 4347-8 or 967-0612/922-5431/922-8488.