Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) intends to train 1,000 new recruits this year and reach full capacity of 1,500 recruits in 2022 as the entity seeks to increase the number of law-enforcement personnel.
He was making his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 25.
Dr. Chang noted that the JCF’s expanded capacity to train up to 1,500 new recruits per year is due to the acquisition and renovation of facilities by the Government.
Harman Barracks in Kingston was refurbished and significant improvement work was undertaken at the National Police College of Jamaica (NPCJ) at Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, while the Tranquillity Bay property in St. Elizabeth was acquired and transformed into a training facility.
Dr. Chang told the House that training of recruits was significantly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) distancing requirements, which impacted intake by approximately 50 per cent.
He noted that in addition to improving facilities for training “we have ensured that all the instructors are trained in the modern way of policing before they are placed in the training facilities. That was one of the priorities of the Commissioner and a necessary priority”.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chang said that as the Commissioner of Police and his team continue the deliberate and strategic transformation of the JCF, the reorganisation process has extended to a number of formations.
To this end, the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) has been strengthened in several ways, such as the use of drone technology to enhance its intelligence-gathering capacity and capability.
Also, the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC) has been strengthened to focus on high-value criminal targets and gangs.
The Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB) has been expanded with the addition of Metro Quick Response teams to handle critical incidents and public order teams to address disorder in public spaces.
“Another cohort of Quick Response officers will be trained in short order to strengthen the unit. We believe their continued development and expansion is crucial to the sustainable reduction of crimes, especially in our urban centres,” Dr. Chang said.
“Of note, the Quick Response teams were first introduced in the St. James Police Division. Their presence has resulted in a dramatic reduction in homicides in the business district of Montego Bay,” he added.
Dr. Chang informed that the restructured Inspectorate and Professional Standards Oversight Bureau (IPROB) continues to ensure that the ethical and professional standards of the Force are maintained.
He pointed out that within a short period of time, the highly proficient team of IPROB officers has demonstrated that they are more than capable of providing the required internal oversight to ensure improved accountability within the Force.
Meanwhile, as part of its transformation thrust, the JCF is pursuing ISO 9001 Quality Management certification.
In this first phase, the Matilda’s Corner and Duhaney Park police stations, as well as the Police Emergency Communication Centre (PECC), will be the entities involved in the programme, which is geared towards the standardisation of operations and consistency in quality service delivery.