Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, has hailed the Police Civilian Oversight Authority (PCOA) Transforming Our Police Service (TOPS) awards programme for showcasing excellence in policing in the country.
The initiative, which is in its second year, judges police stations in terms of compliance with specific Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) standard operating procedures, including records management, station administration, station facility, utilities conservation and customer service.
Area 5, comprising the Divisions of St. Andrew North, St. Catherine South, St. Catherine North and St. Thomas, was the focus of the 2020 competition.
Speaking at the 2020 awards ceremony on Wednesday (November 25), at the Office of the Police Commissioner in St. Andrew, the Minister said that the awards programme is helping to build morale across the police organisation.
“Recipients of the awards have demonstrated exceptional compliance with the policies of the JCF. They have exemplified professionalism, integrity and true ‘Jamaicaness’, which is at the heart of our police force,” he noted.
Chief Executive Officer of the PCOA, Otarah Byfield, in her remarks, said that the TOPS awards was developed as an innovative way of increasing the compliance of law-enforcement personnel with policies and procedures.
She said that the focus is on raising standards, boosting morale and ensuring accountability in the force.
“By showcasing examples of commendable policing, we are aiming for improvement in the policing processes while building commitment, trust and bonds between police and citizens,” she noted.
Head of the Inspectorate and Professional Standards Oversight Bureau, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), McArthur Sutherland, for his part, noted that the partnership between the JCF and the PCOA, has served to improve performance, standards and service delivery, which is “integral to building a safer Jamaica”.
A total of 39 police stations in the four divisions in Area 5 were inspected as part of the awards scheme.
St. Andrew North was awarded the Top Division, with the Above Rocks Police in St. Catherine walking away with the prize for Top Station.
Greater Portmore won the award for Top Prisoners in Custody (PIC) Station and Cedar Valley Station in St. Thomas received the Customer Service award.
Bath Police Station in St. Thomas; Greater Portmore Police Station, St. Catherine; and Irish Town Police Station, St. Andrew, were named the Top Stations in their divisions.
The PCOA is independent of the JCF and its auxiliary (district constables) and audits the compliance of the force’s standard operating procedures and policies.