Senior corrupt cops targeted

Jamaica Gleaner carries con-fession

Derrick Smith, Jamaica Opposition Spokesman on National Security, respond-ing to startling revelations of corrupt deeds practised by a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force who confessed in an article published in The Sunday Gleaner, has said the force needs to send a strong signal in its fight against corrupt cops by targeting senior officers who are engaged in the practice.

While commending the Professional Standards Branch, the arm of the force charged with respon-sibility for tackling corrup-tion in the JCF, for a good start in pursuing corrupt policemen and women, Mr. Smith said the unit, how-ever, had not been able to charge or have dismissed one senior police officer.

“To my sure knowledge, corruption runs from the bottom almost to the top. I am so disappointed that the Office of Professional Responsibility has not been able make an example of one of those corrupt officers by having one identified, fingered, charged and dis-missed,” Smith said in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday.

Headlined: ‘Confession of a corrupt cop’, the story published on Sunday gave a detailed account of devi-ous practices of a member of the force who also ex-posed some shady activities carried out by his colleagues to enrich them-selves.

Since its publication on Sunday, the Gleaner has had an overwhelming re-sponse from concerned members of the public through letters and tele-phone calls, raising alarm about the alleged occur-rences and the depth of the corruption in the JCF.

Mr. Smith said he was not jolted by the confession, noting that corruption in the force flourished because some persons continued to feed the practice.

He said “weeding out corruption in the police force” would be a major policy position of a Jamaica Labour Party administra-tion.

Admitting that it was a difficult problem to solve because of the ‘code of si-lence’ among JCF mem-bers, Mr. Smith insisted that changes had to be made.

Meanwhile, communications consultant with the JCF, Karl Angel, has restated the force’s commitment to rid the or-ganisation of corruption. He pointed out that on more than one occasion, Commissioner of Police Lucius Thomas had made public utterances about the problem and efforts made to deal with the problem.

Mr. Angel explained that Commissioner Tho-mas had introduced the PSB, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Novlette Grant, which has made several break-throughs in arresting police who dabbled in corruption.

He made it clear that the force would leave no stones unturned in its drive to clean up the JCF of cor-rupt personnel, and would target corruption at what-ever level in the organisa-tion.

Last year Commissioner Thomas made a stunning disclosure that criminality was rampant in the JCF. He charged that it was not only rank-and- file person-nel but that it goes as far up as the officer corps.

Speaking at the Police Federation’s 62nd annual general conference on May 31, 2005 in Montego Bay, St. James, Mr. Thomas charged that police person-nel were selling ammuni-tion to criminals and that some were even using the service vehicles to trans-port illegal drugs.

Opposition Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan recently called for whistle-blower legislation for the police force to weed out corrupt cops, arguing that the elimination of corrup-tion in the JCF would go a far way in solving the prob-lem of crime in Jamaica.

Col. MacMillan, a for-mer commissioner of police, said that members who came forward with infor-mation on their colleagues were routinely intimidated and victimised.

He suggested that under the whistle-blower legisla-tion, a unit could be set up in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to handle disclosures and carry out investigations.

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