JIS News

The Government remained committed during the past year, to improving the physical conditions under which police officers carry out their duties.
Since the Bruce Golding administration took office in September of last year, a number of police stations have undergone major infrastructural improvements, while new ones have also been built.
In November, a new police station was opened in Sligoville, St. Catherine, to benefit some 10,000 residents of 20 communities in Eastern St. Catherine. The facility replaced the one that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Meanwhile, a $69 million contract, was awarded to Brighton Engineers, for the construction of the Bath Police Station in St. Thomas. The new facility will replace the station which was severely damaged during Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.
In further keeping with the commitment to improve the working conditions of police personnel, during this financial year, the Government earmarked $100 million to refurbish 33 police stations, and an additional $800 million to build eight new stations across the island. Furthermore, Police Commissioner, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, said a number of divisions would be dismantled or merged as the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), sought to restructure its operations.
The new arrangements will see the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) and Operation Kingfish merged to form NIB Kingfish, and will be strengthened from appropriate elements of the Special Branch, which will no longer exist.
Many of the sections were competing for limited resources and in some cases, were overlapping. The only aspect of the Special Branch that will remain is the Protective Services Division, that provides security for VIPs.
Another aspect of the new arrangements is that Community Relations will be merged into Community Safety and Security. The overall mandate for welfare of members, which belonged to Community Safety, will be the responsibility of a small team on the Police Commissioner’s staff.
In addition, the Professional Standards Branch, will be renamed the Inspectorate of Constabulary. The primary role of the Inspectorate of Constabulary, is to inspect all police formations and to ensure that the standards and procedures are being adhered to, and will act as the Commissioner’s “eyes and ears” in the Constabulary Force.
A new Strategy and Plans post, will also be created, to deal with reform and modernisation issues with an appropriate officer on the Commissioner’s staff. Also, the firearms and coastal arm will be dismantled and replaced by the Firearms and Use of Force Task Group.
A Support and Services Command, will also be created to cover areas such as Traffic, Canine, Mounted Patrol, Marine and the Police Band, and the Special Anti-Crime Branch will be absorbed into the Mobile Reserve.
July saw refurbishing work beginning at the Llandewey Police Station in St. Thomas, with completion set for December. Work at the station entailed repairs to the cells, bathroom facilities, storeroom, garage, and female quarters. Currently, the police officers are occupying a building owned by the Ministry of Health, which is situated close to the station.
In August, the Old Harbour Bay Police Station in St.Catherine, was refurbished at a cost of some $3 million. Funding for the project, undertaken over a five-month period, was provided by the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company, through United Way of Jamaica. In addition to renovation of the building, the station was outfitted with equipment, inclusive of a microwave, refrigerator, computers, and a fax machine.
Additionally, $400 million will be spent on improving the JCF’s Training Academy at Twickenham Park. Also in August, the capacity of the Area Five police headquarters was improved, following the opening of an annex at the Constant Spring police station in Kingston.
The annex, which has six new offices, has been named in honour of Kenneth Cole, who provided his services as a contractor, free of charge.
Approximately $1.5 million was provided by the Ministry, which represented about 25 per cent of the total cost. Contributions from other persons, in kind, cash and in support, made up the other 75 per cent.
The new offices will house the Area Five management team, as previously, the offices were in several locations, including rented premises.
This project will save the Government more than $1.4 million in rent that was being paid yearly at another facility. Funds have also become available to allow for additional offices to be constructed for the main police station.
During that same month, newly appointed Minister of National Security, Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan, and Sales Manager of International Business Machine (IBM) World Trade Corporation, Gordon Foote, signed a contract, valued at US$ 4.35 million, for the development of a secure Internet portal for the Ministry.
Under the agreement, IBM will provide a technological platform to enhance communication between the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Justice, and the Department of Correctional Services in an effort to enhance the monitoring and tracking of cases. IBM will undertake installation and maintenance of the Internet site over a three year period.