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Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Arthur Williams, has identified several new technological aids that could be effectively employed in the fight against crime.
Making his contribution to the 2008/09 State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on July 25, Senator Williams noted that one such technology, the Vehicle Digital Video Recorder, which is a small unit mounted on the dashboard of a police vehicle and which records several hours of footage, “will be useful for public order and public control and could, very often, be the independent evidence in the usually conflicting police and civilian versions of how events take place.”
The Senator also mentioned the relatively new pistol camera, which is a small digital video camera which is attached to any pistol and can tape up to 60 minutes of footage, which he said could “be of tremendous value to us here in Jamaica.”
“The laser targeting system of the pistol camera can be pre-set to turn on when the weapon is drawn. It is therefore an effective way to document police shootings. This can be a deterrent to the wanton use of firearms by policemen, as well as providing protection to those policemen who justifiably use their firearms against citizens,” he said.
He noted that both these technologies are relatively inexpensive and can be valuable to the country, “given what we experience so often, with the conflicting versions of events in every civilian/police confrontation.”
Turning to other aids in the fight against crime, he said the new Traffic Ticketing System and Demerit Points System, to come on stream in April of next year, will be an additional aid to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in fighting crime, “because it will greatly enhance the ability of the JCF to manage the provisions of the Road Traffic Act and will therefore permit the JCF to stem the movement of unlawful elements across the country, because one of the factors that facilitates the activities of the criminal gunmen, is the ease of movement across Jamaica.”
Senator Williams pointed out that the current traffic ticketing system was not functioning, and has fallen into disrepute for a number of reasons, including the fact that there is no synchronization of ticket data at the five data processing centres with the system at the Police National Computer Centre; the inability to match tickets issued to payment data and Court decisions; and the largely non-existent management of the demerit points system.
“The new traffic ticketing system has identified the significant procedures involved in the management of both the traffic ticketing and demerit points systems, the integration of procedures, the identification of relationships and the sharing of data with all the departments involved in the process,” he said.
On the issue of heavily tinted motor vehicles, which he said facilitated the easy movement of criminals, especially during the daytime, Senator Williams said that “the JCF agrees that the present situation of motor vehicles bearing excessively dark window tints, assist the criminals in their movement. They also agree that prohibiting them would greatly assist them in their routine checking of motor vehicles on our roads.”
Mr. Williams said he expects opposition from some persons to any attempt to regulate the tinting of motor vehicles.
“But, the threat to our nation’s security is so critical, that I believe that rules ought to be developed governing the tinting of motor vehicles, and I propose to place this matter on the agenda of the National Security Council, for consideration by them,” Senator Williams said.
“In several jurisdictions across the world, such excessively dark window tints are prohibited, because the basic rule is that police officers must be able to identify passengers in a vehicle,” the Senator pointed out.
The State Minister said that regulating the tinting of motor vehicles, “is one simple but effective thing that we can do to assist law enforcement in our country.”