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Cops 'robbed'

Rank and file JCF members accuse senior officers of pocketing funds for special duties

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, July 15, 2017

RANK and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are crying foul over their superior officers' alleged insistence on assigning them to perform duties for private entities during regular work hours, and allegedly pocketing the payments.

In fact, instead of superior officers informing rank and file members that they are detailed for private duties, which are termed “special duties”, the Jamaica Observer has learnt that the police officers are informed by the promoters of the events for which they are assigned to work.

According to the JCF's policy for the Extra Work Programme, police officers are allowed, to a limited extent, to engage in certain jobs while off-duty.

But disgruntled officers are claiming that senior officers are not adhering to this policy.

“We were not briefed prior to turning up at the locations. We turn up at the locations and we were given a brochure. When we reached the locations, we are ordered around by civilians who are telling us what they expect from us whilst we are there, and [who] provide us with meals after the function,” a source, who is a constable, told the Observer, adding that the meals are part of the payment plan.

The source, who described the practice as a “scam”, said officers are assigned to these events by their superiors during work hours in order to “cover up” the “scam”.

The source also said that when the event is a paid duty, the organisers would normally provide refreshments for police officers as part of the payment package, which allegedly includes cash after the event is concluded.

But the source has alleged that over the last six months, police officers have been detailed for private duty under “disguise”, adding that they were never paid. The source said, however, that they received meals.

In addition to that, the source said after they discovered the “scam”, they were never paid.

According to the source, police constables are paid $650 per hour for special duty while police officers at the rank of corporal and sergeant are paid $850 and $1,050 per hour, respectively.

The Observer has been reliably informed that at least 30 police officers have fallen victim to the “scam”.

The cops, who raised concerns that they are unable to fulfil their mandate whenever they report to work and are detailed to perform private duties, are appealing for intervention from the police high command.

“How are we supposed to fight crime when we have so much criminals [among] us? All they do is scrape for themselves and stop all the allowance that the junior officers are to get,” a disgruntled officer said.

Yesterday, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Clifford Blake told the Observer that the practice is wrong and should not be happening.

“It is a breach of the policy because the private work policy is a policy of the organisation, and if it stipulates that persons not be detailed, that would be a breach of the policy,” Blake said.

He explained that any private entity desirous of having the service of the police can make an application to the superintendent in charge, and then it is approved by his office.

“It is based on the availability of persons who are actually performing beat duty and persons who are on day off or persons on vacation leave. It cannot work for persons during their regular work hours,” Blake said.

Blake, who was unable to speak to possible sanctions yesterday, said the Police Service Commission has a range of sanctions to apply to officers who are in breach.

The deputy commissioner also told the Observer that he will be looking into the allegations raised by the rank and file officers.