Get back to ba­sic polic­ing!

Knife stick­ing INDECOM stuck me – Lewin

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Christo­pher Serju Gleaner Writer

Any se­ri­ous ef­fort to bring the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force more in line with achiev­ing its mis­sion to serve, pro­tect, and re­as­sure the pub­lic must be­gin with root­ing out the cul­ture that em­braces and glo­ri­fies the ac­tions of rogue cops, ac­cord­ing to for­mer po­lice com­mis­sioner Rear Ad­mi­ral Hard­ley Lewin.

ANY SE­RI­OUS ef­fort to bring the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force more in line with achiev­ing its mis­sion to serve, pro­tect, and re­as­sure the pub­lic must be­gin with root­ing out the cul­ture that em­braces and glo­ri­fies the ac­tions of rogue cops, ac­cord­ing to for­mer po­lice com­mis­sioner Rear Ad­mi­ral Hard­ley Lewin.

“The pop­u­la­tion of this coun­try glo­ri­fies ‘bad-man’ po­lice and loves them,” he told a Gleaner Edi­tors’ Fo­rum on Tues­day. “To fix the po­lice, we have to fix the cul­ture,” the ca­reer sol­dier, who re­tired as chief-of-staff of the Ja­maican De­fence Force, ad­vised.

He ad­vo­cated get­ting back to ba­sics by im­ple­ment­ing true com­mu­nity polic­ing as a ma­jor part of the fix and lamented the lip ser­vice that now passes for com­mu­nity polic­ing. The for­mer top cop pointed to the struc­ture of the or­gan­i­sa­tion as a ma­jor hin­drance to this most ef­fec­tive polic­ing strat­egy.

STRUC­TURE WRONG

New York, with a po­lice force in ex­cess of 40,000 thou­sand cops, has one com­mis­sioner, one se­nior deputy, and four deputy com­mis­sion­ers – a rank that is equiv­a­lent to an as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner of po­lice (ACP) in the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force (JCF).

The Metropoli­tan Po­lice Ser­vice, which is the ter­ri­to­rial force re­spon­si­ble for law en­force­ment in Greater Lon­don, has one com­mis­sioner, one deputy com­mis­sioner, and four as­sis­tant com­mis­sion­ers. As of Oc­to­ber 2011, it em­ployed 48,661 full-time per­son­nel. This in­cluded 31,478 sworn po­lice of­fi­cers, 13,350 non-po­lice staff, and 3,831 non-sworn po­lice com­mu­nity sup­port of­fi­cers. This num­ber does not in­clude the 5,479 special con­sta­bles who work part time (a min­i­mum of 16 hours a month) and who have the same pow­ers as their reg­u­lar col­leagues. This makes the Metropoli­tan Po­lice the largest po­lice force in the United King­dom by a sig­nif­i­cant mar­gin and one of the big­gest in the world.

By con­trast, the JCF, which has 11,000 mem­bers, is headed by a com­mis­sioner, five deputies, and 15 ACPs, with which Lewin takes is­sue.

“The whole struc­ture, the whole concept of the thing is wrong. Polic­ing must be at the com­mu­nity level. It has to be, where the rub­ber

meets the road, you have a struc­ture that is mil­i­taris­tic, hi­er­ar­chi­cal, and so when Mon­tego Bay blows up, no tan­gi­ble thing is go­ing to hap­pen un­til it gets out of hand and 103 Old Hope Road (Po­lice Com­mis­sioner’s of­fice) re­sponds with a mas­sive thing. It is to be dealt with at the lo­cal level be­cause you know what is hap­pen­ing.”

WON’T HAP­PEN OVERNIGHT

Ef­fect­ing the nec­es­sary changes to im­prove law en­force­ment in Ja­maica will not

hap­pen overnight, with at least a 10-year time span needed to achieve the re­quired trans­for­ma­tion.

“You can’t re­form it. You have to trans­form it, and there is a clear dif­fer­ence. It doesn’t mean you are go­ing to shut it down and start over, and there is a gap. That’s not the way; can’t hap­pen,” he ad­vised.

“I think that there are deeper things that you deal with, so the po­lice will start out­think­ing crim­i­nals. Not the way it hap­pens now,” he sug­gested.

You can’t re­form it. You have to trans­form it, and there is a clear dif­fer­ence. It doesn’t mean you are go­ing to shut it down and start over, and there is a gap. That’s not the way; can’t hap­pen

The grad­u­at­ing class of De­cem­ber 2013 from the Ja­maica Po­lice Academy in Twick­en­ham Park, St Cather­ine.

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