Wednesday, 30 November 2011

10 Things to Make a Better Jamaica Police

In a nutshell, here are 10 ideas for improving the police (in no particular order):

1. Cyber Crime Division. Expand the cyber crime unit to a much larger division with greater expertise in cybersecurity. There is a growing threat to the public from cyber criminals, like those involved in identity theft and the lottery scams targeting Jamaican and foreign nationals. Not to mention cyber espionage and the theft of sensitive economic data.





2. County-level policing. Re-organise the police into 3 main departments, namely the Cornwall County Police Dept., the Middlesex County Police Dept. and the Surrey County Police Dept. These 3 main divisions would provide larger jurisdictions for a more efficient patrolling and response to distress calls. No more itsy bitsy jurisdictions choking off the police in their hot pursuit of the bad guys. No police should see a crime unfolding and say 'That's out of our jurisdiction.' The current geographic divisions such as Area One, Area Two etc. need to be reviewed and updated. See: Geographic Areas, Divisions & Key Formations.

3. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Use them for highway patrol, search and rescue, surveillance of suspected ganja fields and the tracking of getaway suspects during car and foot chases etc. The police on the ground need support from the air. It's as simple as that.

4. Standardise police station architectural designs. Divisional headquarters should have the exact same layout and amenities. And the sub-stations should also have the exact same layout and amenities etc. Right now, there are some buildings leased by the government to use as police stations that are not suitable for such use. In some instances the police are unable to adequately interview individuals who wish to report a crime in person. No privacy. No confidentiality. No law and order.

5. Standardise police vehicles. Police cars should have partitions separating the front seats from the rear passenger seats. A single police officer should feel comfortable transporting multiple detainees seated in the back. Really? And all patrol vehicles should have a netbook with secure wireless intranet connection for accessing police database of the most wanted fugitives, licensed firearm holders data and driver's license data etc.

6. Merge the Marine Police with the Coast Guard so that there is a larger and more efficient Coast Guard under the command of the Jamaica Defence Force. Jamaica only needs one maritime security and defence force at sea. Whether inshore or offshore, the Coast Guard is all we need. Out with the Marine Police.

7. Merge Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Island Special Constabulary Force into a single police force and rename it Jamaica Police Agency. 'Constabulary' is a remnant of the colonial era, dump it. Nobody call the police 'Constabulary' anyway. We can also do without the 'Force' in the police's name, since we'd prefer less firepower and more brainpower in maintaining the peace.

8. A police detective school. The current police academy at Twickenham Park, needs such a school to transform the police from an army of Rambo to an army of Sherlock Holmes. So once again, less firepower and more brainpower.

9. Jamaica-made uniforms. The Ministry of National Security should help to reduce Jamaica's trade deficit (in a small act of patriotism) by sourcing uniforms and accoutrements from local manufacturers. The government is always chanting 'Buy Jamaican!' yet they do otherwise. The private security firms 'Buy Jamaican!' so put your money where your mouth is.

10. Beat and Foot Patrols should wear appropriate attire that gives them the advantage when chasing suspects on foot. How about running sneakers and jogging suits clearly marked 'Police' and have a unique design patented for exclusive use by the police? Yes, indeed. The police cannot run as best as they should in their current uniform and heavy boots, so many times they are either outrunned by the crooks, or don't even bother to give chase. The jogging outfit would also send a very clear message: This police is ready to chase you down from Negril Point to Morant Point. And back to Negril!