The Jamaican policewoman whose bullet-proof vest was found in the hands of criminal elements during a joint police-military raid in Montego Bay last month has been removed from front-line duties.
Investigations into how the vest, which was not reported missing, ended up in the criminal underworld are continuing.
“We have established that the vest was one that was issued to a policewoman,” Area One’s commanding officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police Keith ‘Trinity’ Gardener, told The Gleaner. “We are now trying to determine how the vest got into the hands of criminals.”
The vest in question was one of four seized during a joint police-military raid in the Sammy Bush area of Norwood, St. James, on Wednesday, April 29. It was among a weapons cache which included a semi-automatic assault rifle AR 18, one Browning 9mm semi-automatic pistol, two .38 revolvers, two home-made shotguns, two 9mm magazines and 49 rounds of assorted cartridges.
While ACP Gardener was reluctant to give details of the investigation, another senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Gleaner that a policeman could also be implicated, as indications are that he had borrowed the vest and not returned it.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Mark Shields, in addressing a recent press conference in Montego Bay, said that the Police High Command remains wary of the activities of corrupt police who are undermining the work of their law-abiding colleagues.
“We are concerned about those among us who are displaying criminal tendencies,” said ACP Shields, echoing similar sentiments to the “criminals among us” charge Commissioner Lucius Thomas made during a visit to Montego Bay last year.
Describing acts of criminality on the part of the police as an embarrassment to the Jamaica Constabulary Force, ACP Shields said the police hierarchy was totally committed to identifying and dismissing police personnel who are involved in criminal practices.
In recent times, the Montego Bay police have come under the spotlight for their alleged involvement in the narcotics trade and extortion rackets, many working in collusion with drug dealers. There was at least one recent incident in which two policemen were arrested and charged after they participated in a robbery with two civilians.