Thanks to the advent of the internet, voices that were previously silenced are now the loudest.
People who hitherto had no way of getting their views heard, are now read all over the world. Credible research information is just a click away.
The benefit that those possibilities present are incalculable, all in all, no one can claim with any degree of credibility, that before they made crucial decisions, they were unable to access good and credible information or data on a given subject.
Today’s JCF seems to be about posturing, form over substance, a never-ending crab in a barrel fight to be promoted.
I understand the need to fight to be promoted within the existing JCF construct. After all, when a slight pay increase is tied to a higher rank it is inconceivable that this race to the top would not result.
Unfortunately, in this mad rush to the top, the focus is not on policing where it ought to be. For years I have suggested a seniority system that guarantees seniority pay that is not tied to promotions.
Additionally, paying police officers for overtime work is also another way in which officers could begin to improve their earnings. That process would ease the stress on the promotion process, more importantly, it would reduce, if not eliminate, some aspects of police corruption. Over the years I have written hundreds of articles in support of the rule of law in Jamaica. Among those articles are some that simply support the rule of law, and by extension our police officers.
In others, I have been critical of the tactics, policies, and failures of the force. During my ten-year stint in the force, those who knew me will recall that I had zero tolerance for mediocrity. As such I have felt obligated to call out individual officers for what I perceived to be incompetence and or corruption. That too in my humble opinion, is a contribution to the JCF and by extension the country at large. An incompetent police force is no good for anyone.
A police force that cannot fulfil its mandate cannot be a dumping ground for people who cannot find jobs or cut it in the private sector or other areas of the public sector.
By objectively holding everyone’s feet to the fire I submit, we have the opportunity to build a better country.
From the start, I understood the very distinct possibility that much of what I wrote would only be relevant as a historical reference point, as opposed to being a template that the JCF would find useful in helping itself become a more professional and effective agency.
I want to address today, the continued ineptitude of the JCF, and its persistent inability to present itself as a credible intelligence-driven law-enforcement agency.
An intelligence-led JCF would possess the capability to ensure that those predisposed to using murderous scare tactics to usurp the criminal justice process would fear, and have second thoughts about using violence, or the threat of violence, on those who would step forward to testify against them.
There is no greater threat to the safety, stability, and security of a nation, than the ability of criminal networks to use violence, or the threat of violence, to keep others from testifying in a court of law.
Allowing this to happen is bowing to terrorism.
Make no mistake about it, those who kill their fellow countrymen, then use murder as a scare tactic to prevent witnesses from testifying against them are indeed domestic terrorists.
They must be treated as such. And so the nation needs a strong, competent law enforcement agency that is up to the task.
I believe that even among my greatest detractors, there is hardly a credible argument to be made that the JCF has progressed to the point where it is equal to the task of effectively dealing with the rag-tag- criminals operating on the Island. Are they sufficiently being monitored, or remotely concerned about the consequences the JCF could exact on their operations? I think not.
I understand the realities facing the agency. It is widely believed there are criminals among the elected officials, I get that and there is support for criminals culturally, I get that.
It is widely believed there is support for criminals in the judiciary.
But by God, none of that prevents the JCF from being a capable agency that is competent, respected and feared, not for its brutality but for its effectiveness.
No police agency can totally protect all of its members from being attacked, injured, and even killed. But when a police agency is unable to find the shooter who just shot and killed an officer simply because he ran around a corner, that agency has problems.
Recent, and previous attacks on members of the JCF without a single arrest has demonstrated that the JCF is flying blind. An agency that cannot protect its own members cannot make the claim that it can protect a nation.
Those are the hard truths. There are ways that each and every violent criminal that passes through the system can be monitored and kept in check. That is not to say that they will not be able to commit more crimes, what it means is that when they do, the agency will know what it is that they did, and will find them quickly and hold them accountable.
An agency that is tasked with the security of a nation, simply cannot operate as a stop-clock. Even with the best strategies in mind, monitoring, and intelligence gathering, data processing, and dissemination are critical to maintaining an edge in securing the country.
Police agencies can no longer operate in the dark. Intelligence gathering and data collection, are fundamentally critical to modern policing, not large guns and show of force, even though those too have a place.
Simply reacting to a piece of intelligence is not intelligence-driven policing. The intelligence-gathering must be continuous, it must be driven towards a purpose and the data derived must be collated towards the strategic execution of well thought out strategies.
If the JCF is doing this we cannot see it. Members still continue to be shot and at best the JCF can only make guess as to who is behind the attacks, if they even bother to think about those attacks.
The JCF still continues to be an outdated reactive force, and that is the bottom line. The failings of the force are not with the rank and file, they rest solely on the inability of its leadership to step up and do the job they were appointed to do.
Mike Beckles is a former Police Detective, businessman, freelance writer, a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog mikebeckles.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites. You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge, or subscribe to his Youtube channel @chatt-a-box, for the latest podcast all free to you of course.
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