JIS News

A full implementation schedule is being developed for recommendations contained in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Strategic Plan, which is being targeted for roll-out over a three year period.
Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of National Security, Dr. Ann Marie Barnes, said that over the next few weeks, a cost attached to the plan would also be submitted to the National Security Council (NSC), chaired by Prime Minister, Bruce Golding.
The JCF Strategic Plan is aimed at enhancing and improving the services delivered by the constabulary.
Addressing a media briefing at Jamaica House today (June 24), following a meeting of members of the NSC and the Review Panel, Dr. Barnes said the implementation plan would include details of the activities to be undertaken in the execution of the recommendations. She said that apart from the implementation plan, a review of the recommendation of a merger between the Police Services Commission (PSC) and Police Civilian Oversight Authority (PCOA) would also be undertaken.
The PSC has responsibility for appointing the Commissioner of Police and other officers in the JCF high command, as well as dealing with matters pertaining to discipline, and attendant activities relative to the smooth running of the force. The PCOA has some oversight responsibilities, which include monitoring divisions to analyze how effectively members of the JCF are carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
The panel has also suggested that a Secretariat be established to oversee the effective functioning of both bodies.
“We have started the re-scoping to look at what that function (of the merged entities) would look like. That would be subject, of course, to the legal advice that we receive from the Attorney General, because as you know, the provision for the Police Services Commission is one that is entrenched in Constitution. And so, that will require a whole slate of legal activities,” she explained.
Chairman of the Review Panel, Dr. Herbert Thompson, who also spoke at the briefing, told journalists that the costing was being worked out, adding that while they did not have a definitive figure, the recommendations submitted to the Council “several weeks ago” hinted at a $5 billion cost.
Apart from the merging of the PSC and PCOA, Dr. Thompson said other significant recommendations proposed were the establishment of Permanent Court of Enquiry to deal with “serious disciplinary matters,” as well as a re-branding of the constabulary to the Jamaica Police Service.
“We consulted with hundreds of persons in the Jamaica Constabulary Force and in civil society. There were public consultations across the country, in which people from all walks of life had an input about their perception of the police force, what kind of police force they would like to see, what kind of police service they think should replace the present constabulary, and what are some of the challenges that they have,” he said, noting that there is wide-ranging support for the police force.
Dr. Thompson noted that over time, several reports and recommendations on reformation of the police force had been done, and lamented the fact that many of them have not been implemented. To this end, he said panel members underscored the need for implementation of the recommendations during the meeting with members of the NSC.
“We were pleased at the level of support for this (from the NSC), and I can assure you that from what we have seen and heard so far, this is going forward,” he said.
“The Commissioner of Police is also pleased, and has said so, with the way things are unfolding. And you are going to see a reformed, restructured, recast police service that is going to serve the needs of this country and make it a better place,” Dr. Thompson added.

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