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JM | Nov 19, 2022

Dr Horace Chang | The importance of technology in national security and crime fighting 

/ Our Today

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From left: Daryl Vaz, minister of science, energy and technology; Dr Wykeham McNeill; Dr Horace Chang, minister of national security, and Lyttleton Shirley, chairman of the Factories Corporation of Jamaica.

Dr Horace Chang, minister of national security, was a special guest speaker at the launch of the Guardsman Group’s Metaverse- a new dimension of security.  The event was held earlier this week at the AC Marriott Hotel in St Andrew. 

Guardsman, founded and led by Kenny Benjamin, will be taking a more technological approach to its security business and will be employing the latest digital solutions in its efforts.

Chang said that the JCF will be adopting a similar approach in tackling the crime wave that is engulfing the country and that the private sector has a role to play.

Below is his full address:

Technology is without question, the most transformative element to have been introduced to the security industry since the 20th Century.

 Advancements in security technology have increased our capacity to identify and resolve risks and vulnerabilities within a minimal timeframe. Guardsman Group stands at the forefront of technological adaptation within the private security sector in Jamaica.

 Today’s launch of your ‘New Dimension of Security’ further consolidates the visionary leadership, unmatched capabilities, and national and regional impact of the Guardsman Group. I wish to add my own congratulations to Kenny and his team for continuing to bring cutting edge, pioneering security technology solutions to the people of Jamaica and the wider region.

Ladies and gentlemen, the fact is, the security industry has to evolve if we are to stay ahead of the criminals.

POLICE FORCE SHOULD BE OPERATING WITH 18,000 PERSONNEL

The data confirms that criminals are utilising technology to facilitate all aspects of their illicit activities. While the requirement for well-trained, highly skilled human assets remains a critical component to effectively disrupting criminal activity; we must expand the use of technology, not just as a force multiplier, but as a critical enabler for greater efficiency and effectiveness in law enforcement.

Of note, our assessment of the manpower of the police force shows that we should be operating with an establishment of about 18,000 regular police officers. This translates to more than 4,000 above the current approved establishment. Meanwhile, the current strength is just about 12,000 (the first time in the history of the police force), notwithstanding the fact that, in recent times, we have added a net gain of over 1,000 new recruits each year.

In order to close this capacity deficit, the government has implemented several strategic security measures, policies and legislation to reduce the level of criminality in the country. This is being done while simultaneously undertaking the most aggressive investment in security technology in in the history of the police force.

Dr Horace Chang, minister of national security.

The digital transformation the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) began in 2019 is only the beginning.  Since then, a Technology Branch has been established – a first in the history of the organisation. This branch is headed by an assistant commissioner of police, who leads a team of young, bright, tech-savvy officers in managing the technological modernisation of the JCF.

Admittedly, we still have some way to go. However, the government is encouraged by initiatives such as Guardsman Group’s ‘New Dimension of Security’, which brings next level security technology in safeguarding the homes, businesses, and personal assets of our people. I look forward to the full deployment of these security technology solutions, even as you move towards making them accessible to the wider cross-section of Jamaicans.

In closing, I wish to reiterate the government’s position, that the Guardsman Group, and by extension, the private security industry in Jamaica, is a critical partner in our crime management efforts. Through effective public-private partnerships, we will continue to positively impact the crime situation in the country, and restore our society to a place of peace, safety and good order.

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