KINGSTON – The Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) central armoury has been rehabilitated and restructured with a more rigid system of arms accountability put in place to mitigate against losses.
The move became necessary following the theft of weapons and ammunition from the facility in February last year, which were recovered on premises on Munster Road in St. Andrew. The armoury was ordered closed and operations ceased, while an audit of the systems and procedures took place. During this time, the facility was also rehabilitated and enhanced.
Speaking at the reopening of the facility located on Lower Elletson Road in Kingston on March 10, Minister of National Security, Senator, the Hon. Dwight Nelson said last year's incident led to the discovery that the system of recording and keeping of registers was antiquated and inefficient.
He noted that the recordkeeping methods have been significantly improved and would now employ very strict auditing practices. “In this regard, we have now moved to eliminate or at least mitigate the risk of loss and tampering of records in relation to the contents of this armoury,” he said.
The Minister further informed that stock taking exercises will be conducted under a new system that will facilitate the evaluation of the correct number of small arms the police possesses in relation to documented data.
He stated that the Government remains committed to ensuring that the JCF remains equipped as “we seek to foster an environment of safety and security… armoury representatives will, at all times, be expected to maintain the highest level of accountability and confidentiality.”
Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington said that several recommendations came out of the audit, which was conducted by a team from the Ministry of National Security and the inspectorate of the constabulary, including the overhaul of systems and procedures and the provision of infrastructure for the storage of weapons and ammunition.
He indicated that some of the recommendations have been put in place, while others are in various stages of implementation.
The Commissioner said that staff of the armoury has been carefully selected, noting that it was ensured that they were of the highest integrity. “They have been put through very indulgent processes of integrity screening, which included polygraph examination and they will be subject to random polygraph (tests) from time to time, because it is important that we ensure that the integrity, not just of the facility, but of the individuals who work with it, is preserved,” he said.
“Let me assure you that the facilities are going to be used for the purposes for which they are designed, which is to ensure secure and safe storage of weapons and ammunition, so that the incident of last year February will not be repeated,” he added.
The refurbishing of the armoury was undertaken by the Jamaica Defence Force’s (JDF) Engineer Regiment. Telecommunications company, LIME, was the project’s major sponsor, contributing approximately $8 million towards the works.
CONTACT: ALECIA SMITH