Jamaica Gleaner

Uni­form short­age leaves po­lice al­most naked

- Ty­rone Thompson Staff Re­porter Jamaica

ASE­VERE short­age of uni­forms is forc­ing some mem­bers of the po­lice force to make their own or to wear uni­forms washed out and patched up af­ter see­ing bet­ter days.

Sergeant Ray­mond Wil­son, head of the Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion, which rep­re­sents rank-and-file mem­bers of the force, last week con­firmed that short­age as he urged the lead­er­ship of the force to im­me­di­ately ad­dress a prob­lem which some cops say has ex­isted for some two years.

“It is a fact there is a short­age, and peo­ple are wear­ing old washed-out uni­forms, peo­ple have to be re­cy­cling one shirt nu­mer­ous times through­out the week, and the shoes is another mat­ter, as if a po­lice­man should lift up his shoes you would be sur­prised to see what’s be­neath it,” Wil­son told The Sun­day Gleaner.

“It has gone as far as po­lice­men and women have to be buy­ing uni­forms and other items from their own pock­ets, and we be­lieve this is un­ac­cept­able,” added Wil­son.

Ac­cord­ing to Wil­son, the is­sue of uni­forms needs ur­gent at­ten­tion, as a well-groomed mem­ber of the force re­flects the pro­fes­sion­al­ism that po­lice­men and women must present as they serve in the public eye at all times.

Wil­son’s con­fir­ma­tion came af­ter some uni­formed cops com­plained that the fail­ure of the High Com­mand to pro­vide uni­forms in a timely man­ner has reached cri­sis pro­por­tion.

One con­sta­ble, who asked not to be named, said he was forced to take a shirt made for women as that was the only one avail­able.

“This shirt that I’m wear­ing now is a woman’s shirt, but I had to take it be­cause it was ei­ther this or none at all,” ex­plained the con­sta­ble, who claimed that he had to take money out of his own pocket to al­ter the shirt.

“I had to take it to my tai­lor and have him shorten the arm­band ... but I have to just wear it, be­cause the work has to be done,” said the cop, as he charged that some of his col­leagues have not re­ceived new uni­forms for more than two years.

“If you look at my squad­die shirt, the num­ber on it wash out, be­cause is over two years now he has been wear­ing the same three shirts, so him wear it, so him have to wash it for the next day,” said the con­sta­ble.

TEM­PO­RARY SIT­U­A­TION

While ad­mit­ting that there has been a re­cent short­age of uni­forms, Su­per­in­ten­dent Ven­dolyn Cameron-Pow­ell, staff of­fi­cer of the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force’s Ad­min­is­tra­tion Branch, ar­gued that this was just a tem­po­rary sit­u­a­tion.

“We have our chal­lenges like ev­ery gov­ern­ment en­tity, and this is not a long-term sit­u­a­tion as we are al­ready putting plans in place to have the is­sue rec­ti­fied in the short­est or­der,” said Cameron-Pow­ell.

“The truth is that some­times we are not able to pro­vide all the uni­forms nec­es­sary as we are con­stantly hav­ing new per­sons join­ing the force, so of­ten­times when we have a large in­take we have cer­tain short­ages here and there, but that has not stopped our mem­bers from be­ing on the road, and I’m sure you are not see­ing any naked po­lice on the road.”

Ac­cord­ing to CameronPow­ell, the JCF is not im­mune to the eco­nomic prob­lems that face the coun­try.

“The coun­try is fac­ing some se­ri­ous eco­nomic chal­lenges, and just like in our homes, there are times when there are un­planned short­ages and we have to shift to plan B; in our case, the plan B is that we just have to wear the old uni­forms un­til we can get new uni­forms. But I can as­sure our mem­bers that this prob­lem should be reme­died in less than a month,” said CameronPow­ell.

 ?? FILE ?? Con­sta­bles dressed in new uni­forms dur­ing a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony at the Ja­maica Po­lice Academy in Twick­en­ham Park, St Cather­ine.
FILE Con­sta­bles dressed in new uni­forms dur­ing a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony at the Ja­maica Po­lice Academy in Twick­en­ham Park, St Cather­ine.

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