‘Hard to re­pair’

Adams says re­la­tion­ship be­tween po­lice and in­ner-city res­i­dents badly dam­aged

The Star (Jamaica) - - Front Page - ROMARDO LYONS STAR Writer

Re­tired Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice Reneto Adams says that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween mem­bers of the Ja­maican Con­stab­u­lary Force and in­ner-city res­i­dents in Ja­maica is at an all-time low and that is re­sult­ing in wide­spread an­ar­chy.

Adams makes ref­er­ence to the re­cent shoot-out in Tivoli Gar­dens when law en­forcers clashed with gun­men. Res­i­dents were adamant that only po­lice of­fi­cers were fir­ing gun­shots, but when THE STAR con­tacted the po­lice, it was re­vealed that gun­men first am­bushed the po­lice with high­pow­ered weapons.

AREA LEAD­ERS

“For the in­ner city, the term ‘to serve and pro­tect’ does not ap­ply to them as far as I’m con­cerned. When they see the po­lice and se­cu­rity forces en­ter the com­mu­ni­ties, they see it as neg­a­tive to the ex­tent that they think they just come to shoot, ar­rest, and kill,” the ex-po­lice­man told THE STAR.

He said that this stems from the past and has been pro­pelled by politi­cians and area lead­ers.

“In the old-time days – I don’t know if it still hap­pen­ing – politi­cians and dons set up the peo­ple against the po­lice and tell lies against them. This was when in­ner cities were mostly gar­risons. Politi­cians would ad­vise them to say neg­a­tives against the po­lice. Ev­ery­thing was pred­i­cated on pol­i­tics,” he said. “Even lead­ing up to an election, killings, crime, re­la­tion­ships be­tween po­lice and com­mu­ni­ties have al­ways wors­ened.”

And as a re­sult, Adams be­lieves that the young­sters in those com­mu­ni­ties grow up with an in­bred ha­tred for the po­lice.

“The peo­ple have be­come very crim­i­nalised, and to that ex­tent, they rather sup­port their com­mu­nity mem­bers’ wrong­do­ings against the po­lice. But it’s not all of them. Many of them who you see demon­strate all the time, they want to say some­thing, but they don’t trust the po­lice,” he said.

But there is a flip side, where the po­lice is also to be blamed.

“The po­lice don’t trust the res­i­dents ei­ther. So when they go in in­ner-city ar­eas, they go with high in­ten­tions that they might not re­turn from th­ese ar­eas with­out be­ing killed or in­jured. So they have to work hard on that to get this com­mu­ni­ty­po­lice re­la­tion­ship go­ing. But when a coun­try has be­come as crim­i­nalised as Ja­maica has, then both sides lose trust, and it’s hard to re­pair,” he said.

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Reneto Adams

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