'If I wasn't ready I wouldn't be here' Major

Major General Antony Anderson takes command of police force

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2018



Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson says he is ready to take on the job of tackling the country's crime monster, while pushing the agenda for reform of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

“I'm here. If I wasn't ready I wouldn't be here,” Anderson told the Jamaica Observer yesterday as he marked his first day in office as the country's 20th commissioner of police.

He noted the numerous reviews of the JCF that have been undertaken over the years, pointing out that what is needed is the right mix of measures to overhaul the more than 150-year-old institution. “It's probably one of the most surveyed and assessed organisations in Jamaica. There are reviews going back many years, which I have looked at; I was even there when some of them were being tabled. A number of the reforms take a lot of resources and there are reforms that don't take any really. We need to see what will give us the best bang for the buck,” he stated.

Commissioner Anderson, meanwhile, said he will be addressing the issuing of crime statistics. The matter has been a sore point over the years, including erroneous murder figures that were released in declaring Mount Salem in St James the first Zone of Special Operations. The JCF later released revised figures

“Largely crime statistics are public knowledge. Crime statistics should be seen as that [as] there is really no need to protect that information. I can understand perhaps why you don't want to create panic — we have a propensity to publish the worst things when we get it — but the fact of the matter is we need to have accurate statistics. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I will be looking at that and over time working with the team here and people external to the JCF. We need to get that done right… we need the macro statistics (to be right) to see what they are telling us, (and) what the trends are saying so that they can inform our decisions,” he outlined.

The new police chief, at the same time, made it clear that he is a man of action and will not be in the spotlight more than is necessary. “Do the work and let it speak, that's my preferred way of doing business. I recognise the need to keep people informed as necessary but the need to say something can sometimes be more problematic than the need to get things done. This (news of his appointment) has been in the media for about two weeks now and I really haven't said anything…I didn't think it was appropriate to say anything before I'm actually in the chair.

He emphasised that despite his sound military background, he comes to the job with diverse experience in other areas, and finds no challenge in heading the constabulary despite it being a different creature from the Jamaica Defence Force.

“Although I have spent a career in the military I have worked with all sorts of agencies over the years. I've worked in the entire region with a mixture of police and military. As a matter of fact, at one point I had a team in the Caribbean that was from 15 countries speaking five languages; I am used to diversity,” he stated.

General Anderson said following the administrative process at police headquarters yesterday, and meeting with his senior team he will convene a number of internal meetings during the course of this week, to include critical groups such as the Police Federation, and the Officers Association. “I need my messages passed through the media and directly as much as I can,” he told the Observer.

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