JIS News

Minister of National Security, Derrick Smith, has said that Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, is reviewing a list of forensic items presented to him by the police high command, which are to aid in the country’s crime fighting strategy.
He said that the Prime Minister, at a recent meeting with the police, had requested an updated list of items for the upgrading of the forensic and technological capacities of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. “As we speak, a shopping list, including those forensic items is on the desk of the Prime Minister with an initial cost of $575 million,” he stated.
Mr. Smith, who was addressing the Rotary Club of St. Andrew luncheon held yesterday (Dec.11) at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, outlined other measures implemented by government to improve the crime fighting capability of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), including the approval of $300 million for resources such as safety equipment and vehicles.
“We have provided funding to improve their working conditions,” he stated, adding that the government has also committed to “allocating the largest slice of the budget to national security for the next three years”.
Mr. Smith also informed that plans are in place to increase the number of officers to 12,000 within five years, as the force is now under-policed. “Because of the damage to the police training school, we are under-trained this year and we have an attrition rate of approximately 350 annually. It’s going to take a mammoth task to bring it up to the target, but we are about to launch a programme to attract youngsters out of high school into the Constabulary Force,” he informed.
He said that quality and not only numbers will be the focus of the recruiting exercise, “to begin to change the image of the force to a truly professional police force”.
As it pertains to using the electronic voters list to build a fingerprint database to catch criminals, Mr. Smith stated that the government does not intend to renege on its commitment not to make electors’ fingerprints available to law enforcement agencies either at home or abroad. “It’s a matter of principle. We recognize of course the difficult call but we are not going to go that route,” he stated.
In the meantime, the National Security Minister said that the level of cooperation from the public in providing intelligence on crimes has been encouraging. “Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been getting a lot more cooperation from our citizens.
At the level of my desk, I’ve received scores of calls providing information and I am told by the leader of the Constabulary Force that, that is their experience also, and I think it is very positive,” he said.
He stated that the government is not considering a state of emergency, while acknowledging that it will take time to deal with the root causes of the crime and violence and “get back to a level where Jamaicans will feel satisfied.”
He said that despite the criticisms, the government is fully aware of the task at hand. “With the cooperation and the assistance that we are beginning to get, and with the commitment of the government and the full force of the security forces, I’d like to give the commitment .to the wider Jamaica that we will tame this tiger called crime and violence,” Mr. Smith assured.

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