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Police issue guidelines for traffic stops, searches

Wednesday, February 06, 2013    

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THE Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) yesterday issued guidelines which it said are to prevent, as far as is practicable, the impersonation of members of the security forces by criminal elements in their efforts to commit crimes.

The public, said the constabulary, needs to be aware of the authority of the security forces to stop and search occupants of motor vehicles on public thoroughfares, the accepted mode of dress by police officers and accepted police professional conduct during such operations.

Traffic stops:

1. Members of the police force must be properly attired in working uniform as described below:

a) Rank and file members of the force (constables to sergeants) must be dressed in black trousers with red or blue seams respectively to the right and left sides and white pin-striped shirts with numerals, whistle and chains and the JCF badge on each shoulder. Members must wear head-dress (black forage cap with red or blue ribbon in the centre) while signalling the drivers of vehicles to stop.

b) Members of the inspectorate and gazetted ranks must be properly attired in brown terylene khaki with buttons depicting the crown and black lanyard around the left shoulder extending to the left breast pocket of the jacket. JCF badge must be worn on each shoulder.

c) Members of the Mobile Reserve and operational support units must wear navy blue denim suits (approved by the Police High Command) with added high visibility vest marked "POLICE", identification number and JCF badge on each shoulder.

d) Members of the inspectorate and gazetted ranks may also wear Navy Blue Denim with accoutrements as described in (c) above.

e) In exceptional cases, where no uniformed member is present, and in the interest of public safety, members must wear high visibility police vests with identification numbers. In this instance police personnel must promptly identify themselves with JCF-issued identification cards when requesting traffic stops.

Pedestrian stops:

* Members of the JCF in civilian clothes conducting covert patrols, in which pedestrians are stopped, must promptly identify themselves by producing JCF-issued identification cards.

Marked and unmarked vehicles:

* Official police vehicles are marked with blue, red or checkered stripes and bear the logo of the JCF, yellow licence plates along with letters and numbers which identify the police divisions to which the vehicles are assigned and the call sign of the vehicles. However, in some instances unmarked police vehicles may be used to effect a traffic stop. In these circumstances, the vehicle will display portable flashing lights (blue colour).

The JCF said that in keeping with our pledge to "Serve, Protect and Reassure" the Police High Command will be moving forthwith to establish the post of standard and compliance officer in all divisions to ensure that professional standards are maintained.

Members of the public have been encouraged to pay keen attention to all police activities and report breaches to the inspectorate of the constabulary.

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