JIS News

Although last year the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) made significant strides in arresting and prosecuting corrupt members, Assistant Commissioner in charge of Anti-corruption, ACP Justin Felice, says that theforce is moving towards a more preventative style of eradicating corruption.
In an interview with JIS News on Wednesday (January 20), ACP Felice asserted that the force does not measure success by the number of arrests and prosecution of its members.
“I would not want to say we’ve had a successful year, because we arrested police officers. What we are doing is to move into education and prevention programmes, which are critical in stopping officers from becoming corrupt,” he said.
He explained that what the force wants to do, is to ensure that the public have confidence in its policing, and will feel confident in contacting the anti-corruption branch, using the 1800 CORRUPT line, if they see acts of corruption.
He told JIS News that already the force, and its partners, are hosting a National Integrity Action Forum, which is a part of the strategies to prevent corrupt acts across Government.
He said that there is a major commitment on the part of the JCF, and the Ministry of National Security, to stop corruption both in the force and the public.
“There is also a joint initiative, with other public sector departments such as Customs, Excise, Inland Revenue, the Contractor General and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). They have all come together in a national integrity action forum, where they are looking at ways of protecting the Government from corruption”, he informed.
In expressing his frustration about the length of time the Court takes to complete a corruption case, ACP Felice reiterated the call he made last November for a Corruption Court to fast track these cases.
“I have had dialogue with the Chief Justice, DPP and others about this court and they are well aware of the difficulty in the prosecution of corruption matters. One of the solutions has been whether to establish a Corruption Court, with special prosecutors and special judges, to fast track some of these cases, I know it takes time to get this, but it is needed (like) tomorrow,” he stressed.
He said that the majority of the persons who were arrested have been charged and are now before the Courts, but there is significant delay in getting the cases through the Courts, which is causing concern because witnesses do not want to have to keep returning to court to hear that the case is being delayed again.
“This court is achievable and could be done in 2010, and I think the Government is committed in tackling this corruption, but justice delayed is justice denied,” he added.
ACP Felice told JIS News that last year the Anti-corruption Branch arrested 70 persons for corruption, including a number of police officers. Over the last two years 150 police officers have been arrested. He said that a fear of detection has now developed within the force, due to the pressure being placed on officers who are found to be involved in corruption.

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