rom time to time I have touched on this subject as more and more evidence surfaces which reveals the gaping holes in one of the most basic functions police officers are tasked with carrying out.
That task is the function of effecting an arrest in a timely fashion using the most effective means available to the office/s.
As a former officer of the JCF myself, I found the training of recruits at the Academy woefully inadequate as far back as in the 80’s. Juxtapose that with what officers are required to do in the field and the disparity is glaring. This is not just on the issue of effecting arrests but in other critical areas, young officers are almost always left unsure of how to act and what to do when real life situations present themselves and they find that their training did not address the how and when of that situation.
The training may have evolved and grown to some minute degree but far too much time is wasted on drills and forms which are more befitting of banana republics than a modern police department training facility.
Take away the drill and ceremonial nonsense and teach recruits how to effect arrests, how to deal with hostage situations, teach them how to rescue drowning citizens, teach them how to handle terror threats.
If you have to drill, (a)drill down on crowd control, (2)Drill down on how to safely and effectively do a traffic stop, clearly officers have no clue how to safely execute traffic stops. (c)Teach them how to do pit-stops, there is so much that is not being taught to our police officers it makes it literally impossible for these young men and women to do a good and professional job.
THE UNENVIABLE TASK OF ARRESTING A SUBJECT
Police officers are tasked with the unenviable job of taking suspects who have broken our laws into custody.
On every occasion that an officer sees an offense being committed or receives a report from someone else about an offense committed that officer is in a lose-lose situation.
(a)I will begin by addressing those persons who believe that officers who effect arrests may be characterized as overzealous. This ridiculous posture would be laughed at in every situation in which an officer tries to arrests someone who breaks the laws.
If an officer decides to give someone a break after he witnesses a minor infraction, (not a felony) it is his/her right to do so.
If the same Officer decides against giving that same offender a break, that is (not overzealousness) it is his or her right not to do so.
To the best of my knowledge, no officer gets special pay for effecting arrests, that is not how it works, even in situations where officers do very well working overtime.
On every occasion that an officer decides to effect an arrest, he sets him/herself up to be criticized for the way the arrest is executed.
If he/she decides against the arrest he/she places him/herself in dire jeopardy of failing to carry out the dictates of the office he or she holds.
(b)Arrests are ugly when a person decides to resist. Police detractors are quick to point to the ugliness of violent arrests as if good police officers chose to be violent with people they are about to arrest.
The person being arrested decides how that arrest is going to go down even how it will end. There is no lawful argument to be made for resisting officers when one is told he/she is under arrest. (That goes for situations in which the arrestee is being wrongfully arrested)
There are carveouts in the law which gives citizens recourse in our courts if they are wrongfully arrested.
Arrests become exponentially more difficult in situations in which there are bystanders actively effectuating the escape of the offender.
It becomes almost an exercise in futility when there are people actively assisting the offender to evade arrest rather than helping officers to make the arrest.
(c)Most arrests in Jamaica has to happen with a certain degree of force, because of the environments of hostility and lawlessness pervasive in the country. This has become more pervasive in recent times for a confluence of reasons. Many have become more belligerent and defiant, some are operating on the misguided notion that the INDECOM act protects them from being arrested or gives them the power to fight with officers.
Officers improperly trained and unsure of their powers add fuel to this fire which inexorably will lead to death before offenders realize the danger in what they are doing.
God forbid that the Ministry of National Security, the Justice Ministry or the JCF leadership would educate the public about this issue.
The Justice Ministry is more focused on protecting the rights of criminals than upholding and enhancing the rule of Law under Delroy Chuck.
(d) If there is more than one officer at a scene where a suspect is to be arrested both officers must be on the same wavelength as to when to step in and make the arrest.
It must be assumed at all times that the suspect will resist, officers attuned to their jobs can pick this up immediately after telling the subject he/she is under arrest so both or all three officers must move quickly to arrest the suspect.
(e) Speed is a critical friend of the police when making arrests, two or three officers must simultaneously grab a belligerent struggling subject take him/her to the ground and cuff his/her hands behind his/her back.
In a situation in which there are two officers, both officers must take down the fighting subject and as quickly as possible cuff the subject.
If there are bystanders getting too close there must be loud barking orders commanding them to step back.
It is a matter of life and death that officers have this safety zones around them as they work to arrest a belligerent subject.
(f) After the initial subject is handcuffed, officers must grab any offender who violated their order to step away and place them under arrest.
Officers are empowered to use appropriate force to ensure their own safety are guaranteed, they should set an example that they are not going to stand for the behavior we are witnessing on our streets.
(g) Removing arrested suspects from the scene of the arrest is critical for control. Officers should endeavor to be quick, decided, professional, and sure of what they are doing.
Bystanders who would be inclined to interfere in arrests also observe the officers involved in the process, they do not interfere in situations in which decisive, no-nonsense officers are operating.
Offenders(usually male) who shout out instructions to others to fight officers and demand that others help in the release of the persons being arrested usually do so from behind front-line obstructionists.
They must be forcefully brought under arrest swiftly and decisively. These actions send an unequivocal message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
The police high command continues to brag about its training though clearly its training needs to be thrown out and a training program adopted which reflects the challenges officers face.
The changes being made today, including the change at the top in which a non-police commissioner is foisted on officers are made against the police, not for the police.
It is not the first time it has been done, but we lose sight of the reality if we ignore the ineptitude of the high command to effectuate practical common sense approaches which made the interloping possible in the first place.
For most of the thousands of rank and file officers of the JCF who have the option to leave the department I would humbly suggest that you find alternative employment.
Simply put, many Jamaicans are inherently corrupt anti-law enforcement people, Transparency International yearly reporting gives a reasonable assessment of the true numerical depth of that corruption.
To others who do not have the means to leave study up on your laws and police duties. Use the laws to your advantage, do the job and do it well.
If their criminal enhancement agency INDECOM charge you when you carry out your sworn function fight them to the privy council, you will win.
When you win sue for hundreds of millions of dollars, you will win.