JIS News

Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding has revealed that he has consulted with Opposition Leader the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, on the constitutional amendment required to effect a merger of the Police Service Commission and the Police Civilian Oversight Authority.
The proposed merger is a recommendation of the Strategic Review of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
“It is an important step, because it would unify two critical functions that are now separated: the power to appoint, promote and effect removal; and the responsibility for overseeing performance,” he said.
The Prime Minister, who was speaking in the Budget Debate on Tuesday (May 5), also stated that Mrs. Simpson Miller has suggested a comprehensive review and restructuring of the legislative structure under which the police force operates.
“I concur with her view and further discussions are necessary to get that exercise going. These discussions must be held as a matter of urgency and I will be communicating with her shortly,” Mr. Golding said.
He added that the anti-crime Bills, designed to strengthen the country’s crime fighting capabilities, have been through the exhaustive deliberations of a Joint Select Committee.
“I urge members to enact those Bills when they are brought back to the House, based on those deliberations,” he said.
He added that the introduction of a National Identification System is a key element in the planned strategies for law enforcement and crime fighting.
“We have provided $70 million in this year’s budget to carry out the necessary preliminary work. We intend to commence the registration process next year. It will be a two year exercise, but it is our intention to have a comprehensive National Identification System in place by 2012,” Mr. Golding said.
He stated that, as part of measures to fight crime, the recommendations of the Strategic Review of the police force are being implemented under the oversight of a committee chaired by Professor Gordon Shirley.
The Government is providing as much resources as the budget can afford, to support the work of the security forces, whose forensic capabilities are being strengthened and specialised training in the area of intelligence management, being accelerated, he said.
“The fight is both internal and external. The effectiveness of the force is undermined by the presence of corrupt members within the force. It is more a sense of relief, than a sense of pride, to note that 56 policemen were arrested for corruption last year,” the Prime Minister said.
“If we can’t rid the force of corruption, we will never be able to rid the country of the crime,” he added.
Mr. Golding said, however, that fighting crime could not be the responsibility of the security forces alone.
“It has to be a partnership, and the citizens are the most critical part of that partnership. Fighting crime by brute force can never succeed or be allowed in a society where people must be respected and their rights protected,” he said.
Mr. Golding also noted that the success of the police force in fighting crime could be no more and no less than its success in securing the support, respect and co-operation of the citizens.
“It must earn than support by building trust and confidence. And the public cannot be duplicitous in providing that support. We can’t protect the criminal in our midst, but expect the Police to protect us from the criminal from outside,” he said.