The new Olympic Gardens Police Station in St. Andrew is set to foster deeper relations with citizens, as space has been made to accommodate community groups and other organisations.
The facility was officially opened recently, months ahead of schedule and within budget. The construction was undertaken as part of the Ministry of National Security’s reconstruction programme, dubbed Rebuild, Overhaul, Construct (ROC), with funds from the National Housing Trust (NHT).
The modern, fit-for-purpose structure replaces an old structure on Marcus Way in the community. Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, says the station came out of a vision and plan developed and pursued for years by the Member of Parliament for West Central St. Andrew, and now Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.
“We are grateful to the Prime Minister for the vision and being committed to this space,” he said, adding that the citizens and members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are pleased. The “structure will become an indelible feature institution in the constituency”, the Mayor stated at the recent opening of the station.
Chairman of the NHT, Lennox Channer, said, “This is a symbol of what can be achieved through continued partnership. This new station will boost the police force’s effort to serve the Olympic Gardens and neighbouring communities.”
Four police stations have been built and upgraded under the ROC programme, while another six are at various stages of refurbishment.
Prime Minister Holness said an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is soon to be installed on the compound, and the police station will provide easy access to other crucial services, such as counselling for persons who are in domestic challenges.
“This is one of many other buildings of this nature to come in this area; this will improve your security. It will improve your community and even save your life,” the PM tells residents.
The facility was built at a cost of $157 million by the JCF and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). Amenities include a criminal investigations branch office, community safety office, a homework centre/Internet café for community members, traffic unit, cell block, kitchen, dining and bathroom facilities.
More than 200 modern, citizen-friendly police stations are being created under project ROC, which is aimed at providing police officers with a comfortable environment conducive to work, while creating the ambience for citizens to interact with the JCF.
Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said having a police station that is in good working order is pivotal to the work of community policing. The professionals who work in these facilities must have confidential areas and proper office spaces to boost the confidence of citizens.
“This building reflects the thinking of the police, and the thinking of this Government, to ensure that public facilities are designed to be user-friendly, as well as providing comfort to the professionals who are entrusted to give security services to the citizens,” Dr. Chang said.
He also stated that for effective crime detection and prevention, police stations must be places where residents get relief and responsiveness from officers, and they can also make reports in confidential settings. He said with other partners, such as the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), stations are being redesigned to convey messages of strong community engagement.
Under the project, the Minister said, police stations are being retrofitted to be safer spaces for community activities. The traditional guardroom has been transformed into a reception area, while the officers are being trained in community policing and sensitised in best customer service practices, as well as domestic and intimate partner violence issues, to treat everyone involved with dignity and respect.
Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, said he believes that the new station is “more than a building from which we can deliver quality services. It is more than a welcoming presence to the communities that it serves”.
He said it is a symbol of a “new standard and a new approach” to the provision of policing services and is aligned with other investments that have been made in mobility, “fit for purpose” vehicles, motorcycles and equipment.
“It is transformational to the communities. Let us use this as an opportunity to come together – police, leaders in the communities and citizens – to create a zone of lasting peace where residents can enjoy all the benefits that come with peace,” the Commissioner said.