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Jamaica wins award for use of GIS in policing

Monday, June 24, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica has been selected as this year's recipient of the Esri Achievement Award for its use of geographic information system (GIS) in policing.

Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, made the disclosure at a plenary session of the Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference last Tuesday.

The four-day conference was held from June 16 to 20 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, under the theme: 'Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development'.

“The use of GIS in policing in Jamaica is one of the best around. We are nearly at real time in terms of mapping in this, and Esri, which has nearly 40 per cent market share on this in the world, are the ones giving us this award,” he informed.

Esri is an international supplier of GIS software, web GIS and geo database management applications. GIS is a framework for gathering, managing and analysing data.

Commissioner Anderson said the JCF is increasing its use of technology as an important resource in policing activities.

As part of this thrust, the Police Commissioner announced that the JCF has developed an algorithm to indicate how resources should be allocated in various jurisdictions across the JCF network.

“We have a model and are copywriting it now. It is a model that is quite sophisticated and was developed right here in the JCF on how you build and establish a police force. You can use it elsewhere; just throw the numbers in and you get an answer,” he informed.

“I had to understand the size of the force and what is required for Jamaica. I had to do this to know how many officers I need and where,” he said, in explaining the genesis of the algorithm.

Commissioner Anderson said the algorithm, which was developed using various international methodologies, will use characteristics of each parish across the island.

“The problem with Jamaica is that we are not uniform. Parishes have different nuances, different areas and so on,” he said.

He noted that the algorithm takes into consideration the transient nature of populations across parishes.

“Cruise ships cause populations in some areas to go up and down rapidly and also some parishes are much more transient because of highway and road networks,” the Commissioner pointed out.

“What we did was to look at this down to each individual station. We got officers who had worked there, supervised and run these stations to give us an idea of how many officers they would need to run the station. Interestingly, the numbers they came up with matched the algorithm. We tested this a few times and found that it worked,” he added.

Discussions at the session focused on Public Safety (Combating Crime and Violence - Partnerships for Intervention and Prevention).


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