JIS News

Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, has said that the government was exploring various avenues to improve the welfare of members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, by improving the level of compensation and physical working conditions.
Dr. Phillips, who made the announcement yesterday (May 30), as he opened the 2006/2007 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House, explained that improvements would be made under the constraints of the new Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), which was signed yesterday.
He noted that already, a service pay regime had been introduced, where for example, an officer, who has between 12 and 17 years of service at the same level, was now eligible for an allowance of $5,640 per month.
“I am pleased that we’ve been able to introduce a service pay regime to recognize the experience gained through length of service and remove the reliance on promotion as the only means of improving remuneration,” Dr. Phillips said.
“We know that there are officers, who have served at the same rank and level for many years and have become very effective in what they do. These persons should be encouraged to continue without seeking promotion simply for pay,” he elaborated.
On other matters, the National Security Minister said the government was committed to “exploring new working arrangements to reduce the working hours as a means of relieving the stress level of the officers”.
He said the government was cognizant of the fact that members of the force were sometimes called upon to work up to 70 hours per week and the long hours had serious implications not just for the officers’ health, but also for their family lives. Dr. Phillips pointed out that his Ministry would be seeking Cabinet’s direction for the implementation parameters.
Concomitant with the improvement in working hours, Dr. Phillips also pointed to efforts to enhance the physical working conditions of the officers. He noted that six new police stations were slated to be constructed this year, while improvements would be made to others.
“Last year, we spent over $300 million fixing some 125 police stations ranging from minor maintenance to major refurbishing. This year, we will spend another $200 million, including the construction of six new police stations”, he informed.