Fatal shootings by the police continue to trend down, with the year to date figure showing an 11.6 per cent decrease over the similar period last year.
This was disclosed by Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, while making his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 17.
"As you are aware, a recent newspaper editorial commended the actions by the police in two incidents last week, one involving a hostage situation and the other related to a car theft. In both cases, the police demonstrated great professionalism and restraint, and apprehended the criminals without anyone being hurt," he said.
He said transforming the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to a more modern and professional institution is an essential part in strengthening the national security infrastructure and enabling an effective partnership against crime.
The Minister pointed out that citizens must feel that they are able to trust and confide in the police before they will be willing to divulge evidence against dangerous criminals. He added that this will require a shift from a police force to a police service, where citizens are confident that the police will always act to serve and protect them.
"In March this year, after some disturbing incidents regarding the apparent excessive use of force, I made a statement in Parliament reinforcing the policy of this administration that, while the police may be obliged to use deadly force in some situations, this authority must not be abused, and that they will be held accountable for any unlawful action. Every use of lethal force has to be justified, and will be independently investigated," he said.
In the meantime, Mr. Bunting said the Anti-Corruption Branch continues to make headway in weeding out unsuitable officers. He informed that a total of 66 persons were arrested and charged, including 39 sworn officers and 27 civilian support staff.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter