Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, said there could be amendments to the law governing the operations of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).
He informed that the Commissioner of the body has asked the Minister of Justice to examine the INDECOM Act, with a view to more clearly outline the role of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) investigators versus the INDECOM investigators, and matters dealing with the primacy of the crime scene.
Mr. Bunting, in a statement in the House of Representatives on March 27, informed that the security forces have also pointed to areas of the Act, which they believe, may operate to “subordinate their Constitutional rights as citizens”.
“So, we are going to have a review. I am already in discussions with the Minister of Justice in terms of appropriate amendments that might aid in clarifying some of the grey areas of the Act, and also to provide for a smoother operation in the fields,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bunting said that tabling of the National Security Policy being crafted, may be delayed by a week or two, as adjustments are made to address the use of force by the police and the protection of citizens.
The Minister, in February, announced that a new security policy was being developed as part of a long-term strategy to address crime and violence. The first phase, he said at the time, was already 80 per cent complete and should be ready by the end of March and the second phase, a month or two thereafter.
“We had hoped to have the first section of that policy ready by the end of the month but because of these incidents (police killings) and the importance that this administration puts in protecting civilian lives, we are going to elaborate on that section of the policy that has to do with use of force and the protection of civilians in police operations,” Mr. Bunting stated.
“We may delay by a week or two while we expand that section, because what we are trying to do and what you will see when the policy comes to Parliament, is we are trying to shift the emphasis from state security to citizen security and all that comes with that,” he added.
He said that Ministry has already made a presentation to the National Security Council on the draft policy.
The National Security Policy being developed will boost the efforts of law enforcement to curtail drug and gun running, by going after the proceeds generated by criminals engaging in these activities.
The focus of apprehension will also be expanded to include drug kingpins and their facilitators, corrupt public officials, in addition to the street operatives.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter