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‘Insufficient training’

James says police need improved firearm training, more ammo to tackle criminals; plus better health insurance

Published:Wednesday | May 31, 2023 | 1:23 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Corporal Rohan James, chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation
Corporal Rohan James, chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation

CHAIRMAN OF the Jamaica Police Federation (JPF), Corporal Rohan James, has called for improved firearm training and provision of health insurance for service members.

“I believe their training is insufficient and the number of rounds that we are expending at the National Police College is insufficient in this era where our criminal elements are travelling with no less than a hundred rounds in one magazine. We need to get it right at this time,” he lamented.

James suggested that the Government engage the Jamaica Rifle Association to provide additional training, which will enable the police to meet the requirements of the Firearm Licensing Authority to obtain a licence.

He also recommended that the Government move swiftly to build remand centres and obtain accreditation for the National Police College.

Those were among the slew of recommendations James made in his address at the JPF’s 80th annual joint conference, which was held in Trelawny yesterday.

On the matter of health insurance, the chairman said the Holness administration promised in 2019 to provide coverage and to date, it has not materialised.

Fifty members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) died between May 1, 2022 and May 29, 2023, in the line of duty and of natural causes.

SOLID FOOTING

“There’s absolutely no other organisation in Jamaica that loses 50 of its members in any one year, at the rate that the JCF is losing our members. We must put our members on solid footing so that they can run to the physician not only when they are sick, but for regular checkups. I want for this to be extended to those who go into retirement because the chronic ailment goes there with them,” he said to a rousing applause.

Corporal James said he recently visited a number of police lockups which are run-down and in his estimation, need to be immediately closed.

“We need to move at a fast pace to get those remand centres that we had embarked to be built and remove all those detainees from police custody … . They are remandees that the court continues to remand and they should not be in our custody. We should be chasing criminal elements out there who are reigning terror on the people of Jamaica,” he said.

Police College accreditation

The federation chair said accreditation for the curriculum at the National Police College is lingering too long and reasoned that on completion of training, graduates should not receive a mere certificate.

“We should be accredited properly. We need to get those accreditations similar to that of the Jamaica Defence Force, where our membership can utilise the training and accreditation for the greater good of their well-being when they have transitioned from the JCF,” he said.

Meanwhile, James said the federation successfully lobbied for police service vehicles to access toll roads without payment out of pocket.

In May 2022, James had blasted the Government and the operator of the North-South Highway following the death of Constable Donald Carr, who crashed on the highway.

It was reported that police personnel encountered difficulties as the toll staff refused to give them access to get to the scene without paying the toll fees, resulting in delayed medical attention.

Further, he said the federation has received a myriad of complaints from members about their inability to obtain licensed firearms.

“We have met with the Firearm Licensing Authority and I am happy to report that a number of these unresolved issues have been resolved, some are being reviewed and you will in fact be getting speedy updates from the FLA. Many members have already obtained their licences and the issues that were affecting them were made known to them,” James said.