First Look

National Security Minister welcomes US$2Million donation of lethal equipment

Ministry of National Security | 2014-11-13 00:00:00

Minister of National Security, Hon Peter Bunting has welcomed handover of more than US$2-million dollars worth of less-lethal equipment donated to the Jamaica Constabulary Force from the United States Government.

Minister Bunting said the donation of 3,500 retractable batons, 3,500 canisters of pepper spray, 3,500 pairs of handcuffs, and utility belts  follows a commitment made by the US government in 2012 to provide the equipment.  He noted that an order for a similar quantity has been made, and with the more than 7,000 pieces of equipment in all, this will be enough to equip front-line personnel.

The National Security Minister was speaking this morning at the launch of the Less-lethal Force Train the Trainer Course at the National Police College, Twickenham Park, St. Catherine.

In expressing gratitude for the donation, he said as Minister, with the current IMF programme constrained budget for goods and services, he could not have afforded the equipment.

He said the kits which are of a high quality are an investment for the medium and long term.

Minister Bunting noted that as part of the culture change within the Jamaica Constabulary Force, a number of measures have been taken which include downplaying the paramilitary style of policing that has dominated for three decades.

He said this has started with civilianising the dress and appearance of police personnel, so there are fewer police personnel in blue denim, body armour, armed with assault rifles when not necessary; instead there are more police in the “red seam” uniforms and khaki for the senior ranks.

He pointed to the policy of holding not just individuals but also officers accountable for the use of force, and improving the planning of operations to minimise the likelihood of casualties.

Minister Bunting also said proximity policing which embeds police personnel in a community where they can develop relationships of trust with residents is also part of the culture change and cited the Kingston Western Division where proximity policing has been successful.

The National Security Minister noted that at the beginning of November, violent deaths were down 22% when compared with the corresponding period last year, with a16% reduction in murders and a 53% reduction in police fatal shootings. 

Minister Bunting said this 22% reduction in violent deaths reflects the efforts in large part that the police have put into improving the professionalism of the force and the hard work they have put into building partnerships with communities.

He said he is encouraged that Jamaica could now be at a watershed in terms of police-citizen relationships.

Minister Bunting said he looked forward to the trainers not just imparting technical skills in the use of the equipment, but also to be agents of change in that new culture that’s being built in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, a culture of absolute respect for the human rights of citizens, the rigid observance of the JCF Use of Force police, and a culture of courtesy and professionalism to all.

  The course which is being funded by the United States Government will see 26 members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force participating in the week-long training.  At the end of their training they will return to their various divisions, formations, and branches to train other police personnel.

Posted By :Gillian Haughton

Company Name : Ministry of National Security

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Company Address : 2 Oxford Road, Kingston 5

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