Wast­ing mil­lions

Pro­fes­sor: Weak man­age­ment lead­ing to huge fi­nan­cial losses in po­lice force

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Livern Bar­rett

WEAK MAN­AGE­MENT within the ranks of the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force (JCF) re­sulted in losses and waste cal­cu­lated at $1 bil­lion in the last three years, two in­ter­nal re­views have re­vealed.

Pro­fes­sor An­thony Clay­ton, who was part of both re­view teams, re­vealed yes­ter­day that the sec­ond eval­u­a­tion, which was con­ducted ear­lier this year, found that the JCF was los­ing more than $500 mil­lion through its fail­ure to col­lect traf­fic fines, among other things. In the first re­view, con­ducted in 2014, Clay­ton said the team also iden­ti­fied $500 mil­lion in funds that was be­ing “sim­ply badly spent”. “So without re­ally, very much ef­fort, we iden­ti­fied over a bil­lion dol­lars which could be re­cov­ered sim­ply with bet­ter man­age­ment of the fi­nan­cial re­sources and used to finance all of the other im­prove­ments,” Clay­ton said dur­ing a Gleaner Edi­tors’ Fo­rum, held at the news­pa­per’s cen­tral Kingston of­fices. The dis­clo­sures came as Clay­ton, a top na­tion­alse­cu­rity pol­icy ex­pert, sought to un­der­line the need for an ur­gent over­haul of the JCF. While not­ing that there are ef­fec­tive gov­er­nance sys­tems within the JCF, Clay­ton said that man­age­ment weak­nesses at the var­i­ous lev­els of the po­lice force were a cen­tral prob­lem “that runs pretty much through all the spe­cific prob­lems” the re­view teams en­coun­tered. Th­ese weak­nesses, he said, were ob­served in crit­i­cal ar­eas such as firearms con­trol and the de­ploy­ment of re­sources.

“Weak­nesses with re­gard to mak­ing a run­ning op­er­a­tion, with re­gard to firearms and

am­mu­ni­tion con­trol, and in re­gard to the de­ploy­ment of as­sets, the lo­ca­tion of as­sets, man­ag­ing the shift sys­tem, know­ing where your of­fi­cers are,” he ex­plained.

“All of this re­ally runs back to the same core prob­lem, which is fun­da­men­tal man­age­ment weak­ness, which runs all the way through the JCF,” he con­tin­ued.

De­spite this, Clay­ton re­vealed that he and other mem­bers of the re­view teams were sur­prised by the push­back from mem­bers of the JCF seek­ing to frus­trate the re­form process. “Their first line of de­fence is to say, ‘Sure, we can do all of th­ese things, but it’s a mat­ter of as­sets,’” he shared.

“I don’t think that’s the case, be­cause in the first re­view, we iden­ti­fied over half a bil­lion dol­lars in monies that were sim­ply badly spent, and in the sec­ond re­view, we iden­ti­fied the sec­ond half a bil­lion dol­lars in monies that was loss or for­gone,” he said.

“So, in the end, it looks very much that the ob­sta­cles were re­ally to do with the en­trenched prac­tices and cul­ture of the force. To get over those hur­dles, you re­ally need to have not just strong lead­er­ship in­side the JCF, but you also need con­stant pres­sure from out­side,” Clay­ton urged.

How­ever, for Rear Ad­mi­ral Hard­ley Lewin, the man who served as po­lice com­mis­sioner for 23 months be­fore stepping down in 2009, the JCF can­not be re­formed. “You have to trans­form it and there is a clear dif­fer­ence,” he rea­soned.

“It doesn’t mean that you are go­ing to shut it down and start dif­fer­ent. That’s not the way; it can’t hap­pen,” said Lewin, a for­mer army chief.

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