Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang, says improved mobility and increased use of technology within the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) have resulted in a marked improvement in its response time to incidents.
“A number of business leaders and private sector citizens have called me personally …. (to say) they have seen such a dramatic improvement in the response time of the police force. That’s a reflection of the Commissioner and his team using the resources we have given them in an efficient manner,” he said.
The Minister was speaking at a ceremony for the handover of 64 retrofitted Mitsubishi pickup trucks to the JCF, at the Office of the Commissioner of Police, in Kingston, on Tuesday (May 5).
Dr. Chang noted that in addition to increased mobility, which is “one of the critical elements in successful crime-fighting operations,” the JCF’s technology support team has been working effectively and has made a major contribution to the investigative capacity of the force.
Citing an example of this team’s proficiency, the Security Minister cited an incident which occurred about two months ago, where the perpetrator of a “fearsome murder” in his constituency, in St. James, was quickly apprehended after committing the act.
“Between the private cameras (under the) Jamaica Eye surveillance programme and a number of patrol vehicles on the road, we were able to track their direction and within 7 1/2 minutes, the primary “shotta” was apprehended even with the firearm (still) in his car,” he said.
Chang stressed that this incident reflects the kind of activity that is emerging from a more modernised force and “gives me confidence and can give the country confidence that we are moving in the right direction and we have a police force that can deal with the level of crime in Jamaica.”
In the meantime, Dr. Chang said the handover of the vehicles demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring the police force is properly equipped to carry out its functions efficiently.
“It is a commitment by Government. It is coming at a good time in this period when we are facing (the coronavirus – COVID-19) pandemic. This Government is committed to providing an effective security apparatus for the country and this is symbolic of what we want to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, expressed appreciation for the new vehicles.
He noted that the vehicles are modified to take into account the country’s terrain, and the circumstances and requirements of policing in Jamaica.
“I am pleased to accept these vehicles that represent tailored functionality as we continue to be a force for good. We should never be challenged by immobility in responding to citizens’ needs and this is a timely contribution as we increase our presence to reassure the nation.”
The pickup trucks were provided under the Ministry of National Security’s project Rebuild Overhaul and Construct (ROC).
This batch now brings to 107, the total number of motor vehicles, valued at approximately $700 million, which have been handed over to the JCF within the last two months.
Each motor vehicle is retrofitted with a mount for tablets with dash camera functionality, beacon (flashing) lights, siren and public address system, a high intensity portable searchlight and a first responder’s kit.