KINGSTON — The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will maintain maximum deployment of all its officers to ensure an atmosphere of peace and safety, as Jamaicans go to the polls tomorrow (December 29), the Police High Command has said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Glenmore Hinds, said the police are prepared for tomorrow’s General Elections, noting that all personnel will be positioned at strategic locations across the island. “All leave has been cancelled, while all offices will be cleared,” he informed.
Speaking today at a press briefing at the Office of the Commissioner of Police, in Kingston, Mr. Hinds said the police will be out in their numbers from as early as 4:00 a.m. and will be in position when the polls open at 7:00 a.m.
"Emphasis will be placed on maintaining law and order at polling centres and counting centres across the island, to ensure that registered voters are able to cast their vote in an atmosphere of comfort and safety,” he said.
He further noted that special attention will be placed on specific areas that have the potential to become volatile. "We will be watching those areas very closely," he said.
The Deputy Commissioner indicated that the work of the police will not end when the polls close at 5:00 p.m., and that JCF members will continue to maintain a strong presence at counting centres and other vital areas.
He informed that the police will establish a six tiered management structure, to ensure safety on Election Day. These, he said, will include the Constituency Management Team, which will see each constituency managed by a gazetted officer and a team of support officers to manage all policing activities within that constituency; the Divisional Management Team will see a divisional commander managing a number of constituencies, along with his support team; and the Area Management Team, which will have a team of police officers supervising a number of areas, consisting of several polling stations.
There will also be the Incident Command Team, which will be established at
103 Old Hope Road to track all public order and crime events across the island; an Operations Management Team, which will be responsible for the management of the elections; as well as the Headquarters Management Team, which will be headed by the Commissioner of Police to ensure that the strategies developed are implemented.
Mr. Hinds said that all members of the two major political parties, other parties, as well as independent candidates, and election officials are being asked to report any incidence of political violence, and abuse of the voting process to the police for urgent and appropriate action.
In the meantime, Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, informed that members of the JCF who were unable to vote on December 22 and are on the civilian voters’ list, will also go to the polls tomorrow.
Commissioner Ellington said this will not pose a problem for the JCF in terms of numbers, as only a small number of officers are expected to vote on December 29. “The number is under 300. We have asked the commanding officers to meet with these individuals and find out if they want to vote tomorrow,” he added.
"Those who wish to vote and their polling stations are outside of the division where they work (will) be assigned duties in the divisions where they can vote,” the Commissioner said.
By Athaliah Reynolds, JIS Reporter