The new Bath Police Station in St. Thomas, constructed at a cost of $70 million, was officially opened Thursday (August 27), by Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson.
The opening of the station forms part of Government’s efforts to equip and modernise the facilities of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
The spacious 5,427 square feet station, which boasts modern finishes and systems, including porcelain tiles, an automatic fire alarm system and a water proofing and insulation mechanism, was completed in May of this year.
Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Jevene Bent, view one of the rooms housed in the male barracks at the new Bath Police Station in St. Thomas, during a tour of the facility following the official opening ceremony on Thursday (August 27).
During the ceremony, Senator Nelson noted that since this administration took office, it has been “armed with the will to ensure that our hard working men and women in the JCF are exposed to suitable working conditions.”
“A motivated police force must of necessity be possessed with the required equipment and facilities at its disposal, to enable it to effectively carry out its mandate. This Government remains thoroughly convinced that the physical environment, within which our police personnel work, must be of such standards to bolster their spirits,” he said.
The Minister stated that, since talking office less than six months ago, he has been visiting police stations across the island to see, first-hand, the conditions under which the personnel are working. He noted that some of the conditions have been “horrifying”, but that his experience has been quite “instructive and enlightening.”
The new Bath Police Station in St. Thomas which was officially opened during a brief ceremony on Thursday (August 27).
Senator Nelson said he was happy that the Government was able to acquire the property, as one of the problems for police stations, is that a lot of the buildings which house them are rented and Government limits its commitment of resources to upgrading rented premises.
“In a number of instances, we have had to secure property ourselves in order to provide buildings like these. We could not provide this, if the building was on rented property,” he explained.
Senator Nelson noted that another problem was that when towns and housing schemes are being planned, there is often no consideration given to setting up police posts.
“Invariably, we try to transform a building which is totally unsuitable into a police station, and we end up with the kind of discomfort that policemen and women experience today,” he acknowledged.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Jevene Bent, said that the station was a wonderful facility.
“I’m excited and I’m happy for our officers. I am challenging the police of St. Thomas to take care of this facility. It places increased responsibilities on our shoulders. We the police, must ensure that when the citizens enter these doors, that they are treated with courtesy, respect, and given quality service,” she advised.
Member of Parliament for St. Thomas Eastern, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, congratulated the Minister and the Government for the completion of the station.
“Today, this police station and its opening are symbolic of the unfolding over time of a development plan for the area,” he said.
He noted that as part of this plan, a new bridge was recently completed, a multi-purpose centre to allow for skills training has been put in place and two new basic schools have been built.
“We have seen, over time, gradual improvement with the botanical gardens, and we are now looking forward with great anticipation, for the $100 million upgrading of the Bath Fountain,” Dr. Ferguson added.
Following the ceremony, the Minister, Dr. Ferguson, DCP Bent and other officials, toured the facility.
The Bath Police Station is divided into three areas – the administrative block, the cell block and the barracks. The administrative block comprises a reception area; two interviewing rooms; station officers office; Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB) office; a server room; armoury; traffic office; three rest rooms; briefing room; and radio room.
The cell block houses 12 cells which can accommodate 36 persons. Each cell has its own toilet. That area also has a doctor’s office; identification room and a service area. The barracks accommodate both male and female police officers’ bathrooms and laundry area.
The station is also equipped with a generator and exhibit room, impound area, car park and a garbage area.