Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting (centre), in discussion with Commissioner of Police, Dr Carl Williams (right) and Acting Custos, St Andrew, Lt Cdr John McFarlane, at the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) annual 2016 devotion exercise on Monday. Photo: Melroy Sterling
By Chris Patterson
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, said on Monday that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will redouble its efforts to rid the nation of acts of criminality, while focusing more on community policing.
“Although we have seen progress in a number of critical areas, we witnessed an unwelcome increase in 2015… when it came to murders, but we will not be deterred or daunted by this setback; we are in this fight to win. The nation cannot allow a minority of heartless and selfish individuals to rob our citizens and our children of their right to live and grow up in safe and peaceful communities,” the minister said.
He pointed out that the ministry, through ‘Unite for Change’ and other initiatives, has put significant efforts into building stronger partnerships between the police and the citizenry, which “are bearing fruit.”
“Communities are recognising that the criminals are not their friends and that their presence in their communities places everyone at risk. Communities are realising that partnering with the police is the best way to free themselves from the stranglehold of gunmen and to create a peaceful environment in which they can live and confidently pursue their legitimate goals and ambitions,” the minister said.
Bunting challenged members of the JCF “to jealously guard the trust placed in you by the citizens of Jamaica and to perform your duties at all times with the highest level of discipline and professionalism.”
He thanked the members for their efforts in protecting citizens and the progress being made in the fight against criminals and violence producers. He also used the opportunity to pay homage to those who lost their lives in 2015.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police, Dr Carl Williams, encouraged Jamaicans to continue partnering with the JCF to provide a safer environment.
“Crime fighting and restoring peace in our community, in our society, is not just the job for the police, it is for all of us and I am extending my arm to partner with each and everyone who is willing to see peace restored in Jamaica. We have come this far by faith and we are going to go much further by faith, doggedness and hard work,” he said.
While admitting that aspects of the past year were “very difficult for the JCF,” the commissioner said that several initiatives, which started in 2015, should manifest in a reduction in murders and other crimes.
Williams added that measures will also be implemented to deal with the actions and behaviours of rogue police officers.