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The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is to benefit from the provision of 16 computers, a smart board and other computer related equipment valued at $2.5 million from the Universal Service Fund (USF).

The computers were officially handed over on Tuesday, April 2, to the Police National Computer Centre (PNCC), during a ceremony held at the Police Commissioner’s Office, Old Hope Road.

In his remarks, Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, explained that the computer centre will be used as a hub to facilitate the training of police officers in information technology (IT), as well as issuing relevant information to stations across the island.

“One of the things we hope to achieve is to cut significantly our consumption of paper and fuel. As a simple example, every week on a Friday morning there are police vehicles from all the divisions assembled here at the police registry to collect copies of the Force Orders to be distributed to every police station and formation. As of last weekend that would no longer be the case,” Mr. Ellington said.

He informed that a gap analysis was conducted by the PNCC to determine the levels of training required for members of the police force. “They have scheduled all of that training,” the Commissioner noted.

Mr. Ellington said the provision of the 16 computers will ensure that police men and women have access to the necessary IT equipment and facilities needed to undertake their jobs.

“It is for this reason that I would like to single out the Universal Service Fund for coming to our assistance to purchase the equipment and to outfit the training room,” the Commissioner said.

“We are ensuring that every police station is equipped with a computer and with connectivity, so that our members can have access to the internet and whatever is being published,” he said.

For his part, Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, expressed his appreciation to the Universal Service Fund for the provision of the computers.

“We have ongoing projects which we are putting to the Fund, and one such has to do with updating and extending the automated palm and fingerprint identification system. They have already made a substantial commitment of US$360,000 and there is an indication of more to come,” Mr. Bunting said.

He pointed out that since the introduction of the automated palm and fingerprint identification system the police have been able to improve its service to the public, adding that the additional funding will facilitate expansion of the capabilities of the system.

Meanwhile, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said that the donation will be the first in a series of interventions by the Fund.

“We regard Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as the basis on which every aspect of our existence will be affected positively, whether in health care or education. We see ICT as playing a leading role in relation to the work that you do here and so we are committed to do more,” the Minister told the police officers.

The USF, generated from incoming telephone calls, is used to accelerate the deployment of broadband services islandwide, in keeping with Government’s effort to enable more Jamaicans to access ICT. This includes the creation of an ICT platform in secondary schools, libraries, post offices, and at community access points.

By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter