While he underscored the need to expand the officer corps of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), security minister Dr Horace Chang last evening decried the treatment that he said is being meted out to ‘young bright’ members of the force in terms of promotion.
He said a number of academically inclined young people joined the JCF because they can’t afford to directly enroll at a university. They later become holders of different degrees.
Dr Chang said cops with degrees often migrate because they are not promoted satisfactorily.
“Our force doesn’t recognize those people. They remain corporal for a long time. The young bright people, they cant wait too long [for promotion]; they migrate…
“You have children of police officers coming in and they have to wait 20 years after having two degrees to become an officer. It doesn’t make sense,” Dr Chang declared during a Crime and Security Forum in St Catherine last evening, June 21.
Political support for promotion
The security minister lamented that a number of academically qualified cops are sometimes overlooked while others with connection to politicians and senior officers are promoted.
“If there is not enough promotional space, they have to look support from some politician or some senior sup to get them promoted, not on the basis of their talents,” he said. “That’s what I mean by getting the pettiness out of it and really building our security force…”
Dr Chang, in the meantime, argued that the officer corps of the JCF should be expanded, thereby providing more space for promotion.
“I am told 3 percent of the [police] force are officers (officer corps)… If you have 12,000 policemen, you have about 300 who are officers. It doesn’t make any sense. The army has 8 percent [officer corps]… So [in the army] you have better control, better leadership, better supervision, and effective training and mentorship to go through for young officers.”
The recently appointed security minister also reasoned: “A modern police force needs a proper officer structure – leadership, supervision, and special skills. Today, criminals have money, they buy technology, they have resources, they have their lawyers, they have their business colleagues. The police force have to have the equivalent means to deal with them… It’s a matter of ensuring that we have a proper structure to allow for bright young officers in the force to get the ascendancy in the force.”
By Horace Mills