JA cops missing in action

Some rank-and-file policemen in western Jamaica failed to turn up for duty in another round of sick-outs to hit the force as the Police Federation’s salary dispute with Government drags on.

General secretary of the federation, Hartley Stewart, told The Gleaner on the weekend that he could not guarantee that the rank-and-file members of the police force would maintain normal services during the course of this week, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.

In the meantime, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Horace Dalley, in a release on the weekend, appealed to the Police Federation not to abandon the route of dialogue and conciliation in trying to reach a settlement with the Government regarding its wage and fringe benefits negotiations.

Mr. Dalley said industrial action by rank-and-file members of the force is not the best way to advance their cause and that further industrial action will only expose the public to unwarranted risks.

Yesterday morning, Acting Commissioner of Police Keith ‘Trinity’ Gardner, head of the Area One Police Division, told The Gleaner that some police personnel did not report for work in St. James.

“The only area that we have had any fallout is in the parish of St. James, where it is reported that a number of persons on the bike patrol and the motorcycle duties did not report for work,” he said.

ACP Gardner, however, noted that the situation was not critical as other personnel were redeployed to the affected areas. “We have our patrols up at those vital locations, which include the financial and commercial areas and the tourists areas, are all secure,” he said.

He said the situation remained stable in other parishes such as Trelawny, Hanover and Westmoreland.

Checks with the police commissioner’s office revealed that personnel in other sections of the island reported for duty yesterday.

Hundreds of rank-and-file members stayed off the job last Tuesday and Wednesday. They called in sick in what was believed to be a swipe at Government’s refusal to give them a 45 per cent salary increase which would be paid over two years.

The police took similar action in May.