Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said that the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) should be embraced by the leadership and rank and file of the country’s security forces, as the body will make them more effective in their tasks and improve the justice system and law enforcement.
“By virtue of its independence, INDECOM is reinforcing the integrity and accountability of our security forces. I believe that over time, this will result in improved practices by state agencies and greater public confidence in our law enforcement agents,” Senator Golding stated.
He was addressing the opening of a training and certification programme for INDECOM investigators on Monday at the Old Hope Road campus of the Management Institute for National Development (MIND).
INDECEOM was established in 2010 to undertake investigations concerning actions by members of the security forces and other agents of the state, that result in death or injury to persons, or the abuse of the rights of persons, and for connected matters.
Over the past decade, there have been more than 1,900 reports of fatal shootings, with five law officers convicted.
Stating that the agency’s work is not easy, having inherited a large volume of cases, Minister Golding said he was impressed by the rate at which INDECOM has been able to organise itself and implement strategies towards building an effective institution.
He noted that the training programme being conducted by the University of Portsmouth – Institute of Criminal Justice Studies (ICJS) in the United Kingdom, is an investment in buttressing the systems of justice in the island.
He expressed appreciation to all the stakeholders, including the UK Department for International Development (DFID), for the $50 million that has been allocated to make the training and certification possible.
In his remarks, Commissioner of INDECOM, Terrence Williams, told the trainees that in the same way that the agency demands that members of the security forces be professional and adhere to international best standards, they too, must be similarly competent.
“It is for this reason that INDECOM, from its very inception, sought out this programme offered by the University of Portsmouth,” he stated.
“At the end of this programme you will have all of the professional skills to put you in a similar position as an investigator in the UK doing similar work. We, at INDECOM, aim for a first world investigative organisation. It is for that reason why we intend to give you the tools to make you first world investigators,” Commissioner Williams stated.
INDECOM invited MIND and the ICJS to design and develop the course in professional and investigation skills, recognising that critical to the execution of its mandate is a highly skilled workforce, which is equipped with the required competencies to undertake its duties with a high level of professionalism and sound technical skills.
The programme is being delivered to two cohorts over 27 days by MIND in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth. The first batch of 35 investigators began their training today.
MIND will work with local experts to deliver component one of the training, covering ‘Leadership and Professional Skills’; while component two, on ‘Investigation Skills’ will be delivered by the ICJS with some support from MIND. It incorporates knowledge-based modules that focus on the social, psychological and Jamaican contexts of policing, and civilian oversight and accountability.
The investigation and evidence modules are skills-based and equivalent to the UK’s Professionalism in Investigative Practice (PIP2) Programme.