‘Hard to repair’
Adams says relationship between police and inner-city residents badly damaged
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.
“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.