Jamaica’s Crime Strategies Protect Offenders Rather Than Their Victims…

If you start out from Harbor View to get to Morant point, but you head west, you may even­tu­al­ly get to Morant Point, but it will take a lot longer than if you head­ed East.
This is so because the short­est dis­tance between two points is a straight line. Understandably, it is not always eas­i­est to fol­low a straight line to get to where we want to be, but that does­n’t mean we should waste pre­cious time and resources going round and round in cir­cles.

I saw recent­ly that there has been anoth­er police shake­up, at the high­er lev­els of the JCF. Coincidentally this has come at a time when vio­lent crimes have been on the increase across the Island, as well as in the var­i­ous Police Divisions in the Kingston Metropolitan area.
According to the local Observer, (eleven of the 19 police divi­sions have so far report­ed more mur­ders than last year, with a 100 per­cent spike in the Kingston Central Police Division 16 up from 8) and a 90 per­cent increase in Manchester (19 up from 10).
(There were 675 mur­ders across the island since the start of this year; four more than the 671 record­ed over the same peri­od last year. Other seri­ous and vio­lent crimes — shoot­ing, and aggra­vat­ed assault — are also up when com­pared to last year. Rape is the only excep­tion, run­ning below the 2018 fig­ure).[Observer​.com]
*I will come back to the *Manchester Police divi­sion* that par­tic­u­lar divi­sion is ger­mane to the point of this arti­cle.
(There have been 660 report­ed cas­es of shoot­ing so far this year, 11 per­cent above 2018; while the 183 cas­es of aggra­vat­ed assault so far for 2019 are a tick above the 182 cas­es record­ed over the cor­re­spond­ing peri­od last year. The police also record­ed 257 rape cas­es in the first six months of this year, a shade below the 263 up to June 29, 2018). [Observer.comThere is a con­sis­tent pat­tern which is unmis­tak­able about crime in our beau­ti­ful Island. It is that despite the ebb and flow, and the fluc­tu­a­tions, crime does con­tin­ue to increase, even if not by way of a straight upward tra­jec­to­ry.

As I hint­ed in the open­ing para­graph, crime is get­ting more and more out of hand, even though it may not be head­ing in a straight line.
With that said, it is impor­tant to con­sid­er that there have been myr­i­ad police shake­ups and trans­fers at every lev­el of the Constabulary, includ­ing the con­stant chang­ing of theCommissioner of Police.
Additionally, Ministers of [National Security] also con­tin­ue to be vic­tims of this seem­ing­ly untam­able beast called vio­lent crime. In this shuf­fle, numer­ous peo­ple, some of them decent pub­lic ser­vants, have had their careers called into ques­tion, not because of their capa­bil­i­ties or lack there­of, but because our nation has been approach­ing this crime issue all wrong.

The Police high com­mand has nev­er been a col­lec­tive unit on which one could put much stock, or bet on. This is so because, in fair­ness to the mem­bers, the unit is a part of a pyra­mid. The per­son at the top gives out direc­tives and the under­lings are required to exe­cute those orders with­out hav­ing an opin­ion.
This top-down approach is used to exe­cute polit­i­cal direc­tives to the Police Department, which are gen­er­al­ly light on actu­al police input.
This unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic, auto­crat­ic envi­ron­ment is an incu­ba­tor for the robot­ic, non-crit­i­cal think­ing which has infest­ed the high com­mand like can­cer. Additionally, it cre­at­ed a cesspool of unpro­fes­sion­al push­ing and shov­ing and news car­ry­ing, as mem­bers jock­ey to be next in line for advance­ment.
Actual crit­i­cal-think­ing on find­ing and exe­cut­ing real solu­tions for the cri­sis at hand becomes a casu­al­ty.

Not all of the offi­cers are slouch­es how­ev­er, there are actu­al thinkers among the crop of peo­ple in the gazetted ranks, (the kha­ki brigade). But the sys­tem in place is not con­ducive to crit­i­cal think­ing, it is a cesspool of group­think.
Good offi­cers who could make a dif­fer­ence if allowed to act on their own are forced to fol­low poli­cies which they know will have no effect. Several Parishes have good com­man­ders but they lack the resources and the pow­er to exe­cute what they know will work.
*Manchester has a great com­mand­ing offi­cer in the per­son of Superintendent (Wayne Cameron), there are oth­er com­man­ders who are doing their best in a bad sys­tem. Despite their best efforts, crime in their divi­sions has also gone up.

  • The way crime is being approached in Jamaica will have to go through a com­plete meta­mor­pho­sis. I have said this every time I broach this sub­ject.
    We are approach­ing crime the way that the Americans are approach­ing Health care. Despite spend­ing tons more on health care many experts say the Americans are engaged in (sick-Care) instead of pre­ven­ta­tive care.
  • Jamaica has a crime strat­e­gy which is crim­i­nal­ly focused, rather than vic­tim-focused.
  • Throw out all of the non­sense that the so-called experts at the UWI tell you about how to approach deal­ing with crime. Fighting crime, though now requir­ing greater and greater sci­en­tif­ic input, is real­ly not rock­et sci­ence.
  • Our crime strat­e­gy is focused on the pro­tec­tion of the rights of accused and con­vict­ed crim­i­nals, instead of on the rights of crime vic­tims and their fam­i­lies.
  • Politicians and their experts, as well as an ever-grow­ing crim­i­nal rights lob­by, tell law enforce­ment what it can­not do to crim­i­nals they are seek­ing, regard­less of the grue­some nature of the crimes they are alleged to have com­mit­ted.
  • When arrest­ed, habeas cor­pus dic­tates, ensures that they have to see a judge in short order or they have to be released.
  • While await­ing tri­al, even for mur­der, (in Jamaica they are allowed out on bail).
  • If not tried in a time­ly man­ner, the (Justice Minister) open­ly lob­bies that the case is thrown out of court. (Even mur­der­ers).
  • If con­vict­ed they are allowed to do as they please while incar­cer­at­ed, if they are musi­cians they are allowed to con­tin­ue record­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion of their mur­der music, (even mur­der­ers). They are allowed to have cell­phones, and they even call in hits on wit­ness­es and con­tin­ue to run their crim­i­nal enter­pris­es from inside.
  • Every pro­tec­tion and def­er­ence is giv­en to those who trans­gress the laws. No one cares about the vic­tims of crime or those who sur­vive those who became fatal sta­tis­tics.
  • Were the empha­sis reversed and efforts con­cen­trat­ed on the pro­tec­tion of poten­tial victims,(a) through bet­ter and enhanced polic­ing, assist­ed by greater leg­isla­tive sup­port, (ie) longer sen­tences for mur­der­ers and oth­er vio­lent offend­ers, (b) remov­ing dis­cre­tion for cer­tain cat­e­gories of vio­lent crime from judges, through truth in sen­tenc­ing leg­is­la­tion.
  • Creating a bet­ter police depart­ment through enhanced train­ing tech­niques, bet­ter remu­ner­a­tion as a coun­ter­mea­sure to cor­rup­tion.
  • Repealing the INDECOM Act and using that bud­get toward train­ing and equip­ping the police.
  • Go back to a polic­ing account­abil­i­ty mech­a­nism which has intel­li­gent actors on board who under­stand polic­ing, but they must also be free of per­son­al or oth­er agen­das.
  • Creating an edu­ca­tion Campaign, using Government medi­ums à la (JIS) on a con­tin­uüm, in help­ing in the fight against crime. One of the great­est prob­lems the police faces in enforc­ing the nation’s laws is the illit­er­a­cy yet high­ly opin­ion­at­ed nature of the pop­u­la­tion.
  • This igno­rance has been left untend­ed for decades, and now we have gen­er­a­tions who actu­al­ly have no idea what their oblig­a­tions are, par­tic­u­lar­ly when deal­ing with law enforce­ment offi­cers

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police Detective cor­po­ral, a busi­ness own­er, avid researcher, and blog­ger. 
He is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. 
He also writes occa­sion­al­ly for the web­site Medium​.com.
You may sub­scribe to his blogs free of charge, or sub­scribe to his Youtube chan­nel for the lat­est pod­cast all free to you of course.