Cor­rup­tion rife in po­lice force

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -


ONE OF the sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems af­fect­ing the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force is the ex­ten­sive cor­rup­tion among its ranks. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Robert Mon­tague must recog­nise the im­por­tance of tack­ling this long-stand­ing prob­lem.

I lis­tened care­fully to a for­mer po­lice com­mis­sioner on a radio in­ter­view show say­ing that the prob­lem of cor­rup­tion among the po­lice force is hin­der­ing the con­stab­u­lary from more force­fully and sur­gi­cally tack­ling the cor­rup­tion in the force. And he is so cor­rect.

Min­is­ter Mon­tague should pro­ceed to for­mu­late the nec­es­sary poli­cies that will al­low the cor­rupt cops to be ex­tri­cated from the JCF and thrown out quickly. There are too many cor­rupt and un­trust­wor­thy cops dam­ag­ing the force’s rep­u­ta­tion and who are in­volved in all sorts of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties. Cur­rently, we cit­i­zens have lost trust in the force. And it’s get­ting worse.

What plans does Min­is­ter Mon­tague have to re­form the force? I do be­lieve that for­mer deputy po­lice com­mis­sioner, Mark Shields, should be ap­pointed deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice in charge of crime and op­er­a­tions to as­sist with re­form­ing the JCF. In re­la­tion to the In­ter­cep­tion of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Act, cel­lu­lar phone providers who breach the law should be crim­i­nally pros­e­cuted and fined and sanc­tioned ac­cord­ingly. Un­der the act, only the com­mis­sioner of po­lice or his ap­pointee, deputy com­mis­sioner of crime and/or deputy com­mis­sioner in charge of in­tel­li­gence; and JDF chief of staff or head of the mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence unit can ap­ply to a Supreme Court judge in cham­bers for a 30-day wire­tap­ping tele­phone war­rant to in­ter­cept and mon­i­tor a phone num­ber re­port­edly in­volved in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.

The war­rant can be ex­tended by the Supreme Court jus­tice based on crime-re­lated ev­i­dence gath­ered from the wire­tap and pre­sented to the said jus­tice in cham­bers.

No phone com­pany should wire­tap any phone num­ber un­law­fully with­out a Supreme Court war­rant spec­i­fy­ing a time pe­riod and be pass­ing on such wire­tap info to a third party.

It is wrong, un­con­sti­tu­tional and a breach of the Char­ter of Rights. Min­is­ter Mon­tague should make a firm state­ment on the con­se­quences of breach­ing the law.

RAMESH OGILVIE Fal­mouth Street, Fal­mouth Post Of­fice, Trelawny.

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