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    Story Highlights

    • The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has received 3,400 kits containing non-lethal weapons from the United States Government, which will boost its continued thrust towards the use of less forceful methods in law enforcement.
    • The kits, which each contain a retractable baton, pepper spray canister, a pair of handcuffs and a utility belt, represent the first tranche of a donation of equipment to benefit 7, 500 members of the force.
    • The contribution from the US Government, including training in their use, is valued at US$2.4 million.

    The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has received 3,400 kits containing non-lethal weapons from the United States Government, which will boost its continued thrust towards the use of less forceful methods in law enforcement.

    The kits, which each contain a retractable baton, pepper spray canister, a pair of handcuffs and a utility belt, represent the first tranche of a donation of equipment to benefit 7, 500 members of the force. The contribution from the US Government, including training in their use, is valued at US$2.4 million.

    At the official launch of the training course on November 13, at the National Police College in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, expressed gratitude for the donation.

    “This could hardly be more timely. We accept, with gratitude, this very generous gift from the United States Government. These kits will be sufficient to equip most of our frontline police personnel and I was also assured that the kits are of very high quality,” he said.

    Minister Bunting said that as part of the culture change within the JCF, a number of measures have been undertaken, including downplaying the “paramilitary style” of policing, and civilianizing the dress and appearance of police personnel.

    “So, there are fewer police personnel in blue denim, body armour, armed with assault rifles when not necessary. Instead, there are more police in ‘red seam’ uniforms and khaki for senior ranks,” he noted.

    Charge d’ Affaires at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Elizabeth Lee Martinez, who also spoke at the launch, said the donation does not end with the training and distribution of the kits.

    “The United States is committed to an ongoing partnership with the JCF to create an annual refresher for all officers in less than lethal force. The goal is that these techniques will soon become second nature and part of the culture of the JCF,” she said.

    She commended Commissioner of Police, Dr. Carl Williams and the JCF for their “commitment to professionalism and to improving their skills and abilities to resolve conflict with a minimum use of force”.

    Commissioner Williams, for his part, said the donation from the US Government will change the face of the interaction between the police and citizens.

    “It will change situations in which we have to use the firearm, which has been our only means of deploying force for a long time,” he noted.

    Twenty-six members of the JCF, in different division and at varying levels, are participating in the week-long training course at the National Police College, which runs from November 10 to 15.

    Corporal Rachel Henry, who is one of two females participating in the training, said she is excited to go back to her division to impart the knowledge gained.

    “I find that this method is better and will enhance what we have been using. It is good exposure for me and my colleagues; I love it. So far, we have gone through some safety precautions measure using less lethal options such as the baton. Throughout the remainder of the week, we will be exposed to other techniques,” she informed.

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