The Ministry of National Security is forging ahead with the building, renovation and repair of police facilities across the island under Project Rebuild, Overhaul and Construct (ROC).
Up to the end of 2020/21 renovations were completed on 101 facilities, with five new police stations constructed.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, in his 2021/22 Sectoral Debate presentation on May 25, said that a further 14 police facilities are projected to be renovated/constructed under Project ROC during this financial year.
He noted that the Ministry will be rebuilding three additional facilities to include the autopsy suite and the Savanna-la-Mar and Spanish Town divisional headquarters.
He said that works are also being undertaken by the National Housing Trust (NHT) and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), which are partners under Project ROC. NHT is constructing and renovating 12 facilities and JSIF, eight. “In fact, they have completed much of their work,” the Minister told the House.
In an interview with JIS News, Director of Security Technical Services and the Project Management Branch in the Ministry, Stefan Francis, informed that 15 projects, which were brought forward from the previous financial year, are ongoing and are at varying levels of completion.
Among these are Olympic Gardens, Denham Town, Four Paths, Lionel Town and the Adelphi police stations, which are about 98 per cent complete; the Runaway Bay Police Station, 92 per cent complete; Buff Bay and Franklyn Town police stations, 85 per cent complete; and Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB) West, 30 per cent complete.
Mr. Francis noted, further, that construction works at the Mount Salem and Green Acres police stations are 96 and 89 per cent completed, respectively.
“We are constructing an additional classroom block at the National Police College of Jamaica (NPCJ), and that is 80 per cent completed. We are doing renovation and reconfiguration to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Pharmacy at the NPCJ; that’s 50 per cent completed,” he told JIS News.
“We are doing some reconfiguration as well at Elleston Road to facilitate the use of some new equipment that we are getting from overseas; that’s 65 per cent completed and we are also doing some repair and plumbing works at Harmon Barracks, which is 45 per cent completed,” he added.
The improvements being carried out under Project ROC form part of efforts to improve the working conditions for the men and women of the JCF as well as boost the customer experience of persons who visit the facilities.
Under the undertaking, more than 200 police facilities are being converted into modern, citizen-friendly workspaces, to provide officers with a comfortable environment conducive for work, while creating an ambience for citizens to willingly and comfortably engage the police.
Mr. Francis told JIS News that approximately $1 billion has already been spent under the project.
These include work on stations and facilities such as the NPCJ and the Specialised Operations Branch, formerly Harmon Barracks.
Mr. Francis said that the Ministry of National Security is committed to improving the facilities in which the security forces operate.
“We identified the challenges that they are facing and we have made a conscious effort to improve these facilities to ensure that our officers can produce their best effort in policing the modern landscape of Jamaica and the Ministry is playing its part in ensuring that they have the resources that they need to effectively police the landscape,” he noted.
Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Delroy Simpson, explained that Project RO.C commenced in 2019, following a comprehensive assessment of the island’s over 200 police facilities. The assessment aimed to determine the scope of the repairs and to prioritise the needs.
“That assessment indicated that well over 100 of these facilities were in an advanced state of disrepair,” he pointed out.
Mr. Simpson told JIS News that even after the official winding down of Project ROC, improvement works will continue to maintain the police facilities.
“There has to be a sustained effort to improve police facilities. These are high-usage facilities and we are now transitioning into a preventative maintenance programme to ensure that we don’t go back to where we were a decade ago,” he shared.
Meanwhile, police personnel and members of the public are expressing satisfaction with the work done to date.
Mr. Simpson said that a Ministry-commissioned study undertaken at 50 stations found that approximately 10 per cent (1 in 10) police officers described his or her working environment prior to the renovation as comfortable, and the number jumped to 80 per cent after the completion of the renovations.
As it relates to public perception, he shares that the study found that 10 per cent of residents reported being satisfied with the station prior to the renovation efforts. However, 90 per cent reported that they are satisfied with the station since renovation.
The full study should be completed by the middle of the second quarter of the financial year.