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Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, has cited the existence of an appropriate legislative framework and an efficient, transparent, accessible and fair criminal justice system, as important elements in securing gains made in the fight against crime.
Dr. Phillips, who opened the 2006/07 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House yesterday (May 30) said that also critical to the process, was the existence of a modern security force with the requisite numbers relative to the population and recruited from among the broadest spectrum of the society.
“We must commit to having a force, which is better trained, exposed to continuous learning, education and professional development and on-going upgrading skills. There must therefore be a commitment to the highest levels of integrity and professional standards within the force and a zero tolerance for corruption,” he stated.
Also important, the National Security Minister said, was the need for further investment in modern technologies and equipment to enhance the human potential and a fundamental and increasing reliance on intelligence as the foundation for investigations. Also, he emphasized, “we must ensure increased professionalism and sophistication in investigative techniques supported by sound legal advice and guidance, and in addition, we must place continued emphasis on crime prevention and crime reduction”.
The National Security Minister stated that there must be a recognition of the value of the security forces through the introduction of new approaches to human resource management and improvements in working conditions.
He acknowledged that specific measures would have to be put in place to better secure the country’s borders to stem the influx of illegal weapons and ammunition, as well as the transit of illegal narcotics. “Most importantly, we must build social cohesion and restore community safety through focused and strategic interventions,” he stated.
All of these elements, Dr. Phillips told the House, must be pursued within a broad strategic framework, which would establish the basis for cooperation and collaboration between the various elements of “what we have come to regard as the traditional security forces, but must now embrace other departments and agencies of government, which have not been fully seized with their roles and mandates as key players in ensuring national security”.
Every law-abiding Jamaican must become part of the process he said, noting that to achieve the required level of success, the approach must also receive enthusiastic bi-partisan support.