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ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Jamaica's police force dysfunctional and unprofessional

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I have accepted, with no intent to revert to any previous hopeful thought, that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is a dysfunctional organisation, and one crowned with inefficiency and unprofessionalism.

I wish not to over generalise, and it may very well be that a curse has befallen me regarding my encounters with members of the JCF. Almost all of my encounters were tainted with unprofessionalism, misconduct, and/or inefficiency.

During the summer of this year, I had the displeasure of having a policeman's rifle pointed to my face for simply riding my motorcycle during one of my usual commutes. No! It is not an annoying 'Yeng Yeng', my vehicle documents were up-to-date, I did not violate any road safety protocol, and I was attired in all of my safety gear.

When I advised the officer that his conduct was unprofessional and unnecessary, I was told, in a dismissive manner, to lodge the necessary complaint since I had an issue with the officer's actions. These officers were from the Old Harbour Police Station and at the time were conducting an active vehicle checkpoint at the intersection of the PJ Patterson Highway and South Street.

Shortly after this incident, I was involved in a motor vehicle accident along South Camp Road, Kingston; this accident occurred on September 25, 2018. Subsequent to the accident, the other party and I reported the accident at the Elletson Road Police Station. The following day, I reported the accident to my insurance company in order to initiate a claim to repair my vehicle.

At the time that the report was made at the police station, I was advised that I could return at the end of three weeks in order to obtain an official police report; this is after paying the necessary fee at the Tax Administration Jamaica.

I paid the requisite fee and returned to the Elletson Road Police Station on November 28, 2018 in order to obtain the report.

My insurance company contacted me the day prior to inform me that I needed the report since the third party did not report the accident to his insurance company.

Upon my return to the police station on November 28, I was advised that the report was not ready. I was told that the “file” that was needed to generate the report was not compiled as yet. After two months? I was further advised by the constable with whom I spoke that he was not responsible for preparing that “file” and that he would not pursue any other action to obtain the “file” solely because it was not his job to prepare the “file”. His job, according to him, was to prepare the report.

I contacted the said constable approximately one week later via the police station's contact number and was again advised that the “file” was not yet prepared, and that I, (yes me), should speak with the appropriate authority for the “file” to be compiled because, again, it was not his job to prepare the “file”.

All of my efforts to obtain the report I requested have since failed. My efforts included speaking to an Inspector and Deputy Superintendent of Police at the Elletson Road Police Station; people in leadership positions.

Who else should I call? The Police Commissioner? The Minister of National Security?

I am still without the police report, and have not been advised when the report will be ready. As you may understand, I cannot pursue any further action with my insurance claim without this accident report.

I would have presumed and expected that a more efficient and professional methodology be employed by the constable and his superiors. I shudder to think about the countless other Jamaicans who experience the same injustices by those who have sworn to serve and protect. I have no hope of change for the JCF. Theirs is a failed cause.

Damion Gordon

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