Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, is promising better working facilities for the police, as part of the thrust to fight crime and improve service to the public.
“Whatever strategies we come up with to fight crime and violence, those strategies, those creative thinking, those approaches have to start with the police force,” the Minister stated on July 9, following a tour of the Mobile Reserve at Harman Barracks in Kingston.
The Minister said that having toured the police training academy at Twickenham Park and observed the conditions there “I am totally and thoroughly dissatisfied that we have allowed those facilities to deteriorate to the point where the money that it is going to take to bring them up to scratch, we can’t find it now.”
He also expressed disappointment with the living conditions of the police personnel at Harman Barracks. “What I have seen here today bothers my soul… I cannot allow police men and women to continue to exist under these kind of conditions. This Government, this Ministry cannot succeed in addressing crime and violence, in achieving its objectives to ensure national security, if the premier security force, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and the Island Constabulary Force, are not properly treated (and) are not placed in an environment, which is conducive to them doing their best,” he stated.
Senator Nelson that he will be seeking to identify Government funds to improve the facilities at Harman Barracks, and, “where this is not available, then I see it as my responsibility to access whatever funding might be available, whether through our multilateral friends or through the private sector.”
Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson (left) discusses plans for improvements to the physical facilities of the Mobile Reserve with Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Mobile Reserve, Clifford Blake, during a tour at Harman Barracks. At centre is Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Owen Ellington.
He stressed his unequivocal support for the police, stating that his Ministry will ensure that they are properly trained and provided for, with access to the latest in technology to fight crime.
He noted that the move to provide a national identification number for every citizen will give significant assistance to the police in keeping track of, and nabbing criminal elements.
The Security Minister pointed out also, that the Ministry is seeking to improve the mobility of police personnel, with the acquisition of 140 new vehicles. “I am working towards the day when every single police station, police post throughout the island, has at least two vehicles to do their job,” he said.
Head of the Mobile Reserve, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Clifford Blake, who led the tour, said there is urgent need for upgrading of the barracks, which house the police personnel.
Other areas of attention include proper facility for general briefing and major events; and additional office space for officers. He indicated that this forms part of an overall development plan for the Mobile Reserve, which has been signed off on by the Commissioner of Police.