Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, has announced that the Government is in the process of reviewing the legislation governing the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), to ensure that the relationship between that body and the Jamaica Police Federation become more wholesome and effective.
“There is an inherent tension in the relationship between any INDECOM-type agency and the Police Force, but the truth is they do contribute, if they operate properly, to the long-term professionalism of the organisation,” he said.
Mr. Bunting was addressing the 69th Annual Joint Central Conference of the Jamaica Police Federation, at Breezes Hotel in Falmouth, Trelawny, on May 17.
“The challenge is not whether to have an INDECOM, the challenge is to have legislation that is clear, with no ambiguities, that give INDECOM adequate powers and not excessive powers, and that we work out protocols in terms of how we operate at incident scenes, so that there is minimum friction and no unnecessary conflicts,” the Minister explained.
He indicated that the Minister of Justice and himself have “knocked heads together” and have agreed that they are going to have a review of the legislation.
“It seems that everybody has some problem with various aspects of this legislation, so as quickly as possible, we are going to have a review, so that the necessary adjustments can be put in place to ensure that the relationship works,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bunting said the legislation governing INDECOM was a new one, which was rushed (through Parliament), so a lot of the issues now being raised were “the very issues which the Police Federation warned about."
Addressing the issue of the escalation of crime and criminal activities, the Minister said the Ministry is now seeking to approach the problem from a preventive angle.
“We will be setting up an inter-ministerial committee to co-ordinate the efforts of crime prevention and community safety across districts. We have a lot of social intervention projects, one of which is the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), and we are coming with the Community Renewal Programme, which will be designed to expand the work of CSJP,” the Minister pointed out.
“The Ministry will be embarking on a whole society approach, recognising that policing alone will only take us so far. One of the things that we are going to look at, is how we can design interventions that will not be the primary responsibilities of the police, but the Ministers’ Fraternal, the social workers and so on – a whole society approach to prevent crime,” he added.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter