JIS News

The police are intent on dismantling the criminal underworld. That was the key message from National Security Minister Derrick Smith at Tuesday’s meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Constant Spring held at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints in Kingston.
According to the minister one of the ways in which this can be accomplished is through an increase in the budgetary allocations to the ministry. “We as an administration have given the commitment that in the first 3 years the portfolio of national security will benefit from the lion’s share of the national budget”.
The minister said police force is now more than ever determined to dismantle the criminal underworld because they realize that they are dealing with an administration that has committed it self to supporting them.
Minister Smith also outlined that a number of challenges were being faced regarding the acceptable number of police personnel to carry out JCF duties. According to him the administration wants to bring the number of persons in the police force up to 12,000 within 5 years “but we can only train approximately 400 per year while the attrition rate from the JCF is approximately 350 per year.”
He said however that consultation is ongoing with an international partner that has given the ministry a positive response to ensuring that “additional facilities are added to the police training headquarters in Twickenham Park to accelerate the levels of recruiting.”
The minister also addressed the issue of guns coming into the country. He said that “it has been established that a vast majority of the guns coming into our country. by sea by so-called fishermen who take ganja to adjoining territories. and exchange that for guns.” He said that we need to stop believing that the little man who grows his little plot of ganja to send his children to school should be able to do so because he is doing more harm than good to Jamaica when we look at the bigger scenario.
“What happens is the big man goes to the small man, buys the ganja from him to make up big shipments send them abroad to bring in the big guns, sells the big guns to criminals who get the funding to buy these guns primarily from extortion.” “I want Jamaica to understand that it is a changing world and what we have been ambivalent about in the past we have to have a different outlook on now because the guns and the ganja they are like husband and wife” said the minister.
On a very positive note, the minister outlined that in recent times citizens were cooperating more in terms of providing the police with information. He outlined that a number of men on the most wanted list were recently taken off the streets and gave credit to the recently formed task force comprising the JDF and JCF. “The situation is improving but not at the level that we would like. We have to do some other things, a lot more cleaning up of our police force.”
Regarding the issue of corruption the minister highlighted the government’s commitment to getting rid of corrupt cops. He said however that fixing the police force does not mean that the crime problem will automatically be solved. “The problem is created by root causes, social problems in our country. We have to spend more on social interventions in our various communities. It is going to take time. There is no quick fix.’ he said
In concluding the minister said that he thinks the government has started well within the last few weeks and is now on track. “The future looks good. The administration is committed to providing the resources necessary to do the job. We have a lot of faith in the new leadership in the police force. We will give him the support and authority that he needs and legislative intervention so that he is in a position to instill discipline in a force that has too much corruption.”

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