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Out-going Commissioner of Police, Francis Forbes, has said that one of the most significant achievements in his eight-year tenure was the launching of a Corporate Strategy, which paved the way for the modernization and reform of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
The Commissioner, who held his last press briefing in that capacity on Tuesday, January 4, told high ranking officers and journalists at the Police Officers’ Club on Hope Road, that the launching of the Corporate Strategy made substantial history.
“I have the satisfaction of being the first Commissioner to invite an external review of the organization – something that most other Commissioners in the region resist. I also have the satisfaction of drafting and implementing the first Corporate Strategy and working towards that plan,” he said.
Admitting that the Corporate Strategy started off very slowly, Commissioner Forbes explained that it required much research, and secondly, the findings suggested that the JCF had to do a lot of capacity building, since the administration wanted the modernization and reform of the organization to be delivered by serving members. This, he said, was done with assistance from appropriate consultants.
Mr. Forbes also noted that while the five-year Corporate Strategy has led the way for the modernization and reform of the JCF, there was still a lot of work to be done. Among the things which remained to be done was the establishment of a Missing and Exploited Persons Bureau, he added. Pointing to other achievements in his term as top cop, Mr. Forbes said that the new Use of Force and Firearms Policy had strengthened the effectiveness of the police force.
He also said his approach to rid the JCF of corruption was creditable. Prior to his tenure, he said, former Police Commissioner, Trevor McMillan was the first Police Commissioner to speak out openly about corruption in the Force.
This was a first, he said, as traditionally such matters were dealt with internally in the organization. But Mr. Forbes noted that his position was that the first step to fighting corruption was to admit that it existed and to speak publicly about it. “You cannot fight corruption and sweep it under the carpet,” he emphasized.
“By putting it out in the public domain, it is on the lips of everyone,” he said, noting that such a move had earned him the displeasure of some law enforcing officers. “But I continue to say.first admit corruption, identify those that are corrupt, report on them and follow up on that. We must ostracize them. That is the only way to treat corruption,” the Commissioner said.
He was also pleased to note that the first ever Anti-Corruption Policy and Strategy would be launched in the near future. He said this policy would include such elements as Integrity Testing – a strategy which has been used in overseas jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, with great success.
Mr. Forbes noted that the mental state of the police force, though often overlooked as an issue, was not ignored under his watch. “We have, for the first time, been able to bring on board a clinical psychologist,” he noted.
On the issue of crime, the Commissioner said there were wins and losses. While the JCF was able to seize a record number of firearms last year – over 600 illegal guns – and carry out impressive drug seizures, 1,735 kg of cocaine and 20,952 kg of ganja in 2004 alone, homicides in particular, were alarmingly high.
“There were areas that I did extremely well in, and there were areas where, with the best of will I could not have done better, because I did not have the wherewithal,” he said.
The Commissioner added that the police were now detecting a new trend in the murders committed. He pointed out that in gang warfare, law enforcers were realizing that gang members not only sought out rivals, but also targeted the nearest family member of the rival gang member – whether that individual turned out to be an old woman or a young girl. “It is really difficult to police situations like those,” he said.
While noting that policing strategies were important in the fight against crime, he also stressed that there were other factors that were inherent in the social fabric, that were contributing to crime and violence. Commissioner Forbes said that if those other issues were not treated, then the country would be hard pressed to come up with real solutions to the crime problem.

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