Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, says that the number of fatal police shootings continues to decline, with 104 cases up to June 24, which is less than the 119 shootings for the same period in 2011.
The figure, he said, is also “dramatically less” than the 150 reported for January to June 24, 2010, and is reflective of a decrease in the use of deadly force by the police. He reported that fatal police shootings have been reduced by one third over the last two years, and is expressing confidence that the numbers will be reduced even further.
The Minister, who was addressing the 28th Annual Joint Central Conference of the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) recently at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel in Ocho Rios, attributed the decline to, among other things, the fact that the police is being held to greater levels of accountability.
In fact, he said, members of the force “have never been more accountable for their actions than what pertains now”.
He said not only are members of the force being held to account by an educated and more knowledgeable public, but they are also under the scrutiny of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), the Public Defender, and the Police Services Commission. He said the JCF also has its own internal systems and procedures, to which personnel must adhere.
Minister Bunting pointed out that fatal shootings are now taken into account when police officers are up for promotion.
“Not because you have a fatal shooting means that you will not be promoted. But they are looked at to ensure that they were justifiable and justified, and this has never been as rigorous, as it is now in the JCF,” he said.
He expressed confidence that “we will continue to see improvement, not just in reducing homicides and murders statistics, but in also reducing police fatal shootings through better equipment, better training, organisation, planning and conduct of operations."
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter