JIS News

Jamaica’s Acting Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, has pledged to continue the challenging task of providing a safe environment for Jamaicans.
Speaking to nearly 200 Jamaican nationals and friends of the Diaspora, at a Community Town Hall meeting at the Lauderhill City Commission, Lauderhill, South Florida, Mr. Ellington said that the security of the country is the responsibility of honest and decent Jamaicans, at home and abroad.
The Community Forum was hosted by Jamaica’s Consul General, Sandra Griffiths, and was the culmination of the Consulate’s one-day Community Outreach programme in Lauderhill.
According to Commissioner Ellington, Jamaica’s crime problem is not purely socially induced, but is also generated by organised criminal activity for profit, including drug trafficking and gun smuggling. He said that the high murder rate, in contrast with the low rate of incarceration, also allows for a higher degree of movement and freedom than in other countries.
He urged Jamaicans, at home and in the Diaspora, to take a stand to avoid involvement in such activities, as these were contributory factors to crime and violence, leading to corruption in the society.
Noting that the JCF’s security plan had “very good, clear strategies” that could contain crime in Jamaica, Mr. Ellington explained that since his appointment, in November last year, his intention has been to support the plan by reordering several key strategic priorities to be put in place to continue the task of effectively managing the nation’s security.
He cited his list of priorities as including: reduction in major crimes; restoring public safety and confidence among members of the JCF, as well as the public, while adopting a more confrontational attitude in going after criminals; anti-corruption measures within the JCF; respect and upholding human rights; effective internal and external communications; and boosting the morale and confidence of members of the JCF.
On the subject of corruption, the Commissioner reaffirmed his position that the nation’s crime plans would not be effective, unless the JCF is able to shed the burden of corruption and criminality within the Force.
He assured that this could only be accomplished by working with the majority of decent, honest, hardworking and professional policemen, to confront the minority of “lazy, irresponsible ones” who were criminal in nature.
He reiterated the need for partnership and support of the vast majority of officers who share the vision and objective of ensuring public safety. On the other, he said, it was important for the public to understand that the JCF is linked to their safety.
Among the measures put in place to deal with their concerns was videotaping of corrupt police activities. This surveillance method, using technology, has proven to be successful as it is the cheapest and most effective way to confront persons with real hard evidence, he stated.
He also disclosed that the Tourism Enhancement Project (TEP) was currently partnering with the Montego Bay Safe City Project, to use close circuit television, with analytical capability, for recognition and detection mechanisms.
The Commissioner also spoke of improved coordination of operational activities in the reduction of major crimes. These included full involvement of the command and control teams for increased police presence and operations, as well as better planning and implementation to rationalize resources, effectively.
In this regard, research on crime and policing activities are being supported by the Ministry of National Security, the research departments of the University of the West Indies and Harvard University and the JCF Statistics Department to build research capacity.
According to the Commissioner, several measures were also being used to boost the morale and confidence of members of the Force.
Commissioner Ellington also called for a partnership of public, private and community efforts to eliminate Jamaica’s crime problems.
He was accompanied by Superintendent James Forbes, JCF Diaspora Liaison Officer.
Several agencies participated in the one-day Community Outreach activity, including: the Caribbean Bar Association, the Jamaica Ex-Police Association (JEPA), Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Jamaica National Building Society and Jamaica National Overseas (USA), Victoria Mutual Building Society, Air Jamaica Limited, Grace Kennedy Remittance Services/Western Union, Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the Lauderhill Regional Chamber of Commerce and the US Census Bureau.

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