The Real Conversation Should Be “how Do We Help The Police To Help Us”?

At the top of the list of things being said in this lat­est round of demands by rank and file police offi­cers for bet­ter wages is the argu­ments that wages should be tied to per­for­mance.

As a gen­er­al rule, we Jamaicans are well known for offer­ing up opin­ions on every­thing even when we haven’t both­ered to take a minute to avail our­selves of the facts.
One per­son argued quote: Six/​seven of every ten mur­ders in Jamaica go unsolved! Yet, police, clas­si­fied as an Essential Service, had embraced indus­tri­al action for bet­ter wages. Any pay increase should be tied to tan­gi­ble per­for­mance as a crime mit­i­ga­tion strategy.…basic pay for all police but those in divi­sions where mea­sur­able results are record­ed, a bet­ter com­pen­sa­tion pack­age should be offered after the fact, say at the end of the year.

Commissioner of Police George Quallo

Like every oth­er area of an econ­o­my, includ­ing the Jamaican econ­o­my, polic­ing oper­ates on a top-down sys­tem.
Meaning that for all intents and pur­pos­es the aver­age work­er, save and apart from those in the board­rooms are mere pawns on the chess­board to be moved around at the whim and behest of those in con­trol.

To sup­pose that as a con­se­quence of high crime num­bers mem­bers of the police rank and file ought not to receive bet­ter remu­ner­a­tions ignores the fun­da­men­tals of that basic fact.

The vast dis­par­i­ty between the salaries of the gazetted Ranks (Assistant Superintendent to the Commissioner of police) is as a result of their des­ig­na­tion in the sys­tem.
Contrary to what many believe, includ­ing many rank-and-file police offi­cers, police offi­cers from the rank of con­sta­ble to Inspector are not civ­il ser­vants.

Civil ser­vice work­ers salaries are cal­cu­lat­ed and approached quite dif­fer­ent­ly.
For exam­ple, the salaries of gazetted mem­bers of the police depart­ment will nec­es­sar­i­ly be in the same group­ing as Doctors, Parliamentary sec­re­taries, and mem­bers of the judi­cia­ry and oth­er such groups of work­ers.

Police High Command Either Complicit Or More Stupid Than I Thought..

There is a rea­son when a team per­forms poor­ly that upper man­age­ment or own­er­ship does not fire the team. After all the team is the com­mod­i­ty no mat­ter how flawed it is you do not dis­band the team.
So the coach­ing staff has to go.
A new coach­ing staff brings new ideas and method­olo­gies and apply them to the team, with new ideas and meth­ods it may be nec­es­sary to trade part of the team or even retire oth­ers.

We arrive at bet­ter out­comes when we bring new ideas to the table and apply best prac­tices which are eas­i­ly mea­sur­able.
The JCF hier­ar­chy has done a tremen­dous dis­ser­vice to both the JCF, the junior mem­bers and to the nation on a whole as a result of its cor­rupt prac­tices and it’s less than per­fect oper­a­tional pro­ce­dures.

Outdated train­ing tech­niques which have no bear­ing on mod­ern polic­ing chal­lenges must be dis­band­ed and replaced with real-time tech­niques

Through it’s stead­fast attach­ment to both polit­i­cal par­ties, cor­rupt prac­tices and it’s incom­pre­hen­si­ble incom­pe­tence and inabil­i­ty to oper­ate as a mod­ern police depart­ment, the police high com­mand has man­aged to destroy the rep­u­ta­tion of the agency and the morale of its junior mem­bers.
As a result of that 50 junior offi­cers leave the force each month.
That is almost 2 offi­cers per day.

A top to bot­tom review is need­ed to deter­mine a new force struc­ture.
That review should begin with an under­stand­ing of the dif­fer­ing roles we ask our police to play in today’s soci­ety and going into the future.
It is armed with that under­stand­ing that pol­i­cy­mak­ers will come to a deci­sion on whether or not the cur­rent lev­el of gazetted offi­cers in the depart­ment is actu­al­ly need­ed.
The lev­el of inef­fec­tive­ness must cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly be laid at the feet of those who lead the depart­ment.

In the same way, many in the low­er ranks through their actions neces­si­tat­ed INDECOM and oth­er detrac­tors, the gazetted ranks have brought the oper­a­tional effec­tive­ness of the force into seri­ous ques­tion.
Officers on the ground car­ry out their func­tions as com­mand­ed. Whatever the short­com­ing the senior lev­els must be held account­able for break­downs and lack of results as it relates to crime sta­tis­tics.

Caches of guns the police recov­er almost dai­ly.

None of it in any way negates the very valid and urgent need for offi­cers to be paid a liv­able wage.

Officers place their lives on the line every day some­thing no oth­er cat­e­go­ry of work­ers is asked to do.

As a con­se­quence, we must hold them account­able for their actions when they mess up but we owe them a greater debt of grat­i­tude sole­ly on the basis of what we have asked them to do for us, in many of those cas­es involv­ing events which we are unable or will­ing to do for our­selves.

That lev­el of grat­i­tude must begin with a fair lev­el of respect for our offi­cers and what they do.
Let us set aside the con­temp­tu­ous and dis­re­spect­ful dia­tribes uttered from behind the rel­a­tive safe­ty of com­put­er screens and begin to sup­port our law enforce­ment offi­cers.

I have long called for a restruc­tur­ing of the police force begin­ning with the man­age­ment struc­ture.
Having served in the depart­ment for rough­ly a decade I have seen first hand the incom­pe­tence and the lack of direc­tion or fol­low through that exist in the lead­er­ship of the JCF.

That is why even after sit­ting and pass­ing the accel­er­at­ed exams in 91 I too decid­ed that I would not be hav­ing a career in the JCF.

I real­ized then, what many young offi­cers do today, That’s why I head­ed for the exit, it is why they run for the exits now.
Policing in Jamaica is a thank­less job which despite one’s best efforts, is gau­ran­teed to result in only mar­gin­al pos­i­tive results.
Perhaps, most impor­tant­ly it is [servitude]to an ungrate­ful nation.

The JCF has long been a step­ping stone for many poor young peo­ple and it’s not about to change any­time soon.

The effec­tive­ness of the police can­not be mea­sured sole­ly on the basis of what appears on the stat sheets how­ev­er impor­tant it is to have declin­ing crime num­bers.
Crime is not the pre­rog­a­tive of the police alone the soon­er Jamaicans awake to those real­i­ties the bet­ter off they will be in this fight against crim­i­nals.