JCF needs will from within to change

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE ED­I­TOR, Sir: I READ with in­ter­est and frus­tra­tion the ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled ‘Wast­ing mil­lions - pro­fes­sor: Weak Man­age­ment Lead­ing To Huge Fi­nan­cial Losses In Po­lice Force’ in The Gleaner of Wed­nes­day Oc­to­ber 12, 2016.

The Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force (JCF) has been dogged by the same chal­lenges of weak man­age­ment pro­cesses and a waste of re­sources for years, but there has not been suf­fi­cient will from within the or­gan­i­sa­tion to change.

Pro­fes­sor An­thony Clayton’s com­ment: “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” is not sur­pris­ing at all and is cer­tainly noth­ing new. Af­ter mil­lions of United States dol­lars do­nated by the prin­ci­pal con­trib­u­tors Canada, the United King­dom and the United States, have been spent on in­ter­na­tional po­lice of­fi­cers , le­gions of con­sul­tants and re­sources to mod­ernise the JCF, there re­mains an un­der­ly­ing cul­ture within the or­gan­i­sa­tion that ‘we know best’ and an in­tran­si­gence to ac­cept change.

Sadly, the JCF re­tains be­liefs within the ranks of its se­nior of­fi­cers that they are there to serve them­selves first and the pub­lic some­where af­ter that. The no­tion of hold­ing a po­si­tion with an em­pha­sis on an in­di­vid­ual’s value and role rather than rank has not changed. In my opin­ion, Com­mis­sioner Carl Wil­liams is do­ing an ef­fec­tive job un­der the most dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances. But un­til he is sup­ported by ef­fec­tive man­age­ment struc­tures at all lev­els of the po­lice ser­vice, his ef­forts will be fu­tile.

REC­OM­MEN­DA­TIONS

There are a few rec­om­men­da­tions for what may be done to change course. None of them are new but merely a re­gur­gi­ta­tion of ideas put for­ward by me and oth­ers for over ten-years: 1. A re­duc­tion in se­nior ranks — start­ing at DCP level, and the em­pow­er­ment of other se­nior of­fi­cers to ac­tu­ally lead, make strate­gic de­ci­sions and man­age their re­sources and bud­gets. 2. The re­moval of se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers with­out the req­ui­site skills from strate­gic po­si­tions within the ad­min­is­tra­tive func­tions of the JCF; with a shift for the most tal­ented and skilled se­nior po­lice man­agers to fo­cus on polic­ing op­er­a­tions and strate­gies to pre­vent and de­tect crime. 3. The ap­point­ment of a se­nior busi­ness man­ager, with pri­vate sec­tor ex­pe­ri­ence, po­si­tioned at the equiv­a­lent rank to DCP, with real in­flu­ence on man­ag­ing the non-op­er­a­tional side of the JCF’s busi­ness. This will in­clude an over­haul of all hu­man re­source func­tions; es­pe­cially around pro­mo­tions, train­ing and suc­ces­sion plan­ning. 4. Train­ing se­nior of­fi­cers in the im­por­tance of re­source and bud­get man­age­ment. 5. Ef­fec­tive mech­a­nisms must be put in place to man­age re­sources at a strate­gic level, in­clud­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of a JCF man­age­ment board to whom the Com­mis­sioner must re­port and be held ac­count­able for non-op­er­a­tional busi­ness as­pects of his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. The JCF man­age­ment board will be run by se­nior pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor in­di­vid­u­als with the ex­pe­ri­ence of man­ag­ing large or­gan­i­sa­tions at a strate­gic level. Per­haps Pro­fes­sor Clayton should be one of the first ap­pointees. 6. The re-es­tab­lish­ment of strate­gic man­age­ment groups in crime, op­er­a­tions and busi­ness man­age­ment, re­port­ing to the com­mis­sioner and ul­ti­mately to the JCF Man­age­ment Board.

Much needs to be done to pre­vent the same news about the dys­func­tions of the JCF be­ing re­peated again and again, but I do hope, and still have hold a de­gree of op­ti­mism, that this Gov­ern­ment will bring about a sus­tained change by creat­ing an ac­count­able po­lice ser­vice that all Ja­maicans can rightly be proud of.

MARK SHIELDS For­mer Deputy Com­mis­sioner

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