JIS News

Prime Minister P. J. Patterson has ordered that arrangements for a modern police Headquarters to house the Commissioner of Police and his Principal Officers in a central location are to be completed within the next four weeks. The new headquarters will house a Command and Control Centre equipped with modern technologies to coordinate operations across the island. Cabinet is in the first of a three-day (Jan 5-7, 2006) retreat at the Couples San Souci Hotel in St. Mary.
In making his opening statement at the Retreat, the Prime Minister said that there were a number of policy areas which require final decisions. In addition to national security, he spoke of the justice system, constitutional reform and the legislative agenda, finalising the country plan for sugar and developing a fully integrated plan for disaster mitigation and environmental management.
On the matter of national security which was the first item on today’s agenda, the Ministry of National Security will accelerate the modernisation process within the security sector to achieve a highly professional security force, equipped with modern crime fighting technologies and operating within the context of a supportive legislative framework.
Cabinet will presently give approval for the establishment of the National Strategic Intelligence Agency in keeping with a decision of the Cabinet and a recommendation of the National Security Strategy to form a Civilian Intelligence Agency. Meanwhile, the newly created Police Civilian Oversight Authority will soon be in operation and is expected to contribute to the rebuilding of public confidence in the police force.
Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, outlined the changes to the structure of the JCF which will be implemented this year. Operation Kingfish will continue to carry out its mandate to dismantle major gangs. A major Homicide and Shooting Investigations Team comprising the most experienced police investigators from the existing Homicide Unit and Divisional CIB offices is being organised to support JCF Divisions that are confronted with the high number of homicides. Other areas of organisational restructuring affirmed by the Cabinet include the reorganisation of Special Branch. In addition, urgency will be placed on the training and acquisition of equipment for intelligence services as part of the general implementation of the new intelligence infrastructure.
Minister Phillips said that an important development is the introduction of a Shooting and Homicide Crime Scene team to support the main crime prone divisions. In addition, a major social intervention programme will be pursued alongside crime fighting strategies in targeted communities in a number of police divisions such as Kingston East, St. Andrew South, St. Catherine North, sections of St. Ann and St. James.
The Cabinet approved the direction of the Ministry of National Security to revamp the approach to training and professional development for recruits and officers at all levels in the JCF. To this end, the Ministry has been collaborating with certain local and overseas institutions at the tertiary level to revamp the entry requirements and the training curriculum for police officers and to extend the nine-month training period in a move designed to improve the professional preparation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Cabinet directed that steps be taken to implement the necessary upgrade of the training facilities at the Jamaica Police Academy at Twickenham Park.

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