The Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) capacity to effectively investigate property theft using synthetic Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology has been boosted with the donation of equipment valued at approximately $1 million by telecommunications firm, Digicel.
Some 50 kits, manufactured by British company, Selectamark Security Systems, under its SelectaDNA brand, were presented to Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington, during Tuesday’s (January 22) launch of the DNA Forensic Property Marking System in Jamaica, at the Office of the Police Commissioner, Old Hope Road, St. Andrew.
The establishment of the system is being facilitated in Jamaica by local firm, Shields Crime and Security Consultants, headed by former Deputy Police Commissioner, Mark Shields, which has partnered with Selectamark Security.
The undertaking will see applications facilitating the marking of property also being made available to domestic and commercial interests.
National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, in welcoming the technology, described it as a “safe and positive initiative”, while highlighting the benefits of technology to the JCF.
“What the public may not appreciate is how much the JCF is evolving in terms of its own use of technology in solving crime and in being able to track down the perpetrators of crime. I can say that as we invest in law enforcement, going forward, and we invest in national security, an area that we are focusing on is developing the technological capabilities of the police and our security forces, more broadly…ultimately, in assisting us in getting convictions,” Mr. Bunting stated.
Commissioner Ellington, in also welcoming the new technology, said the JCF’s Forensic Scene of Crime Division has been identified as the central point of contact with Shields Consultants and Selectamark in developing the operational protocols.
“But ultimately, we intend to have all our members on the frontline…to check on property, which we find in the custody of individuals, who we suspect have stolen them or obtained them unlawfully,” he stated.
Managing Director, Selectamark Security Systems, Andrew Knights, who made the presentation, explained that the application is a property marking system, or a personal identification product, entailing unique codes, which is applied to personal effects and other assets, and can be easily identified using an ultra violet torch.
This, he said, is complemented by a global database, to which Jamaica is already connected, which can be accessed by local law enforcement officers “within seconds” to verify the status of property found in the possession of persons, which is suspected to be stolen.
Digicel Jamaica’s Chief Executive Officer, Andy Thorburn said the decision to support the initiative was easy to make.
“It’s the right thing to do for our customers… because unfortunately, many of them suffer from crime in their homes, in their workplaces and we have to do everything we can to protect them,” Mr. Thorburn said, while pointing out that Digicel would also benefit.