- The Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) launched a new High Security Identification Card to increase security arrangements.
- The JCF’s operational capacity was significantly strengthened by the acquisition of 89 new vehicles late December.
- More than 30 officers from the PICA, an agency of the Ministry, benefitted from training, as the Government intensified efforts against terrorism.
The Ministry of National Security placed major focus on capacity building of the security forces last year as part of efforts to stem crime.
This involved technology upgrade; the purchase of equipment and machinery; improving mobility through the acquisition of motor vehicles; renovation and refurbishing of facilities; and the training of personnel.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, pointed out that the security boost were an integral part of the administration’s 2013-2014 strategic priority focus on improving security and safety in Jamaica.
Early in the year, the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) launched a new High Security Identification Card to increase security arrangements pertaining to the issuing, ownership and accountability of licensed firearms. The new card, which is similar in size to a credit card, has several security features to guard against replication, and it captures and stores the picture, finger prints and signature of the holder.
Additional technology was acquired by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in January, aimed at improving the JCF’s capacity to effectively investigate property theft using synthetic Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA).
The anti-theft technology, which is valued at approximately $1 million, was donated by telecommunications firm, Digicel. Some 50 kits were presented to Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington.
In April, police officers received 16 computers, and other equipment valued at $2.5 million courtesy of the Universal Service Fund.
“We are ensuring that every police station is equipped with a computer and with connectivity so that our members can have access to the internet and to whatever is being published or sent down to them by strategic and tactical level communication,” Commissioner Ellington said.
The Traffic Police Division was also outfitted with newly acquired hand-held devices linked to the traffic ticketing database system and able to provide up-to-date information on motorists with outstanding tickets and warrants.
Further evidence of the concentrated effort in 2013 to infuse technology into crime fighting came in September when the Area One police acquired a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Surveillance System to improve their watch over the city of Montego Bay. The system, consisting of some 19 cameras strategically located across the city, was procured by the Ministry at a cost of approximately $55 million.
Acquisition of Motor Vehicles
The JCF’s operational capacity was significantly strengthened by the acquisition of 89 new vehicles late December. The number comprised 72 from the Ministry of National Security, 15 from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), and two specialized vehicles donated by the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC).
Also during the year, the JCF received 39 Mitsubishi 4X4 twin-cab pickups, valued at over $136 million, which were purchased from the $300 million allocation by the Government, through the Ministry of National Security, for boosting the JCF’s mobile capability during the 2013/2014 financial year.
In addition, four motorcycles, valued at US$30,000 were added to the Traffic Division’s fleet. The 650cc Yamaha motorcycles were donated by the Jamaica National General Insurance Company (JNGI).
More than 30 officers from the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), an agency of the Ministry, benefitted from training, as the Government intensified efforts against terrorism, travel fraud, and other forms of criminal activity.
Immigration officers, investigators, citizenship and passport officers and customer service personnel from Kingston and Montego Bay, participated in the comprehensive training programme. The training was carried out in collaboration with the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE).
At the same time, 28 Sergeants of Police from within Area One, which covers the parishes of Trelawny, St. James, Hanover, and Westmoreland, proved themselves ready for higher responsibilities within the force, when they successfully completed a six-week Sergeant Supervisory Management Course conducted by the JCF Staff College.
Monitoring Of Deportees
The Government of Jamaica’s (GoJ) efforts to improve the monitoring and management of criminal deportees have been strengthened, under a $48 million agreement with the United Kingdom (UK) Government.
In December, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Major General (Retired) Stewart Saunders and British High Commissioner, His Excellency David Fitton, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for an 18-month project, aimed at boosting the capacity of the Deportee Monitoring Unit (DMU).
The initiative, which got underway in November, will provide for the training of key personnel, and provision of equipment such as computers, cameras, printers, servers, telephone handsets, cell phones and office furniture.
Construction and Upgrading of Facilities
In March, police personnel in Falmouth began serving the public from a new state-of-the-art complex, which was constructed by the Government at a cost of $278 million.
The new Falmouth Police Station, located on Rodney Street in the town, boasts modern amenities for up to 200 police personnel and persons in detention; as well as carries the latest in security features.
A section of the complex will also be used as a base for a contingent from the JCF Mobile Reserve and a Major Investigations team. A regional recruiting centre for the JCF will also be located there.
The facilities at the Norman Manley International Airport police station in Kingston were also substantially improved following its renovation and expansion at a cost of some $23 million.
Work carried out included extensive refurbishing of offices, bathrooms, interview rooms, changing rooms for police officers, and the kitchen/canteen, among other areas. The project was undertaken in three phases over approximately 12 months.
Meanwhile, a police post was set up at the Charles Gordon Market in Montego Bay, and four mobile community security and dispute resolution centres were opened in St. Catherine to serve the March Pen, Lauriston, and Shelter Rock communities.
The centres were constructed at a cost of over $25 million by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), with participation by the communities. They are facilities for mediation, community policing, and other community activities.
Additionally, the lecture theatre at the Twickenham Park Academy in St. Catherine was refurbished and now has the capacity to seat 144 persons. The project was undertaken through funding from the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) Embassy.
The training school also received state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment and air conditioning units from the International Narcotics Law Enforcement Section of the US Embassy.
The refurbishing work was carried out under the EU’s $3.7 billion Budget Support Security Sector Reform Programme (SSRP). Of the amount, $242 million has been earmarked for the upgrading of TwickenhamPark.
A Police Museum was also opened on the Twickenham Park grounds on November 26 as the JCF celebrated Police Week. The museum, which is located at the library of the training school, showcases artefacts collected over the JCF’s 146-year history.
Increased police presence has been ensured for fisherfolk and their customers at the PortmoreCausewayFishingVillage, where a marine police post valued at
$200 million was constructed during the year.
The South Camp Rehabilitation Centre was renovated to accommodate female juveniles, who have already been relocated from the Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre.
When refurbishing work is completed on the entire facility at South Camp Road in Kingston, it is expected that it will also accommodate female adult inmates in separate areas. The full renovation will cost approximately $65 million and the facility is slated to be able to accommodate 250 inmates, including 96 female juveniles.
The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), another vital arm of the security forces, has also benefitted from better physical amenities during the year.
Four JDF barracks across the country have been retrofitted, to include E-learning centres. This has resulted in advanced training opportunities for soldiers and easier access for applicants to complete their online recruit test for entry into the Force.
The bases in St. Mary, Manchester, St. James and Kingston have all been outfitted with computers, printers, furniture, network switches and cables by the Universal Service Fund (USF), as part of their island eLearning initiative.