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JM | Sep 28, 2022

Makhulu | What Major General Antony Anderson can learn from Sir Mark Rowley

/ Our Today

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Former top anti-terrorism officer in Britain, Mark Rowley, speaks to the media outside New Scotland Yard following a recent attack in Westminster, in London, Britain March 24, 2017. (File Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)

Crime in Jamaica is at epic proportions with the murder rate expected to exceed last year’s numbers.

This year has been characterised by heinous and grizzly acts and a general breakdown of law and order throughout the country.

Something has to be done.

The responsibility for policing the country lies with Major General Antony Anderson, who is the commissioner of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Of late, he has come under a barrage of criticism as crime and murder escalate. Citizens do not feel safe in Jamaica. It is said that the country can see no progress in taming wanton criminality.

Anderson is not to blame for this. He is not given to verbosity and grandiose statements and his mild-mannered nature is misconstrued as ineffectiveness and not being up to the job.

He is aware of the magnitude of the task before him.

He might be better off taking a what gets measured gets done approach and showing some quantifiable achievements.

File photo of police personnel from the Speacial Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit. (Photo: jcf.gov.jm)

As it stands, crime is the batsman and it is getting on top of the bowling.

Sir Mark Rowley has taken over as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in the UK, setting out a 100-day plan to tackle crime.

He is a man on a mission and is clearly set on getting on top of the batsman, sending him back to the pavilion.

Beginning his tenure after the period of mourning for the recently deceased Queen Elizabeth II, he made it clear that burglars, robbers, sex offenders are to be hunted down and arrested as part of an effort to restore the public’s trust in the police.

He has sent out a warning that he will be rooting out corruption in the Metropolitan Police and those found misbehaving will be dealt with quickly and harshly. He wants to review recruiting methods in order to have better police officers within the organisation.

It’s not about how many officers you have in the organisation but more about the quality of the police professional.

Sir Mark Rowley takes the helm at a time when the Metropolitan Police has come under fire for delays in answering 999 calls and a failure to identify repeat victims.

He has insisted that the police must now attend to all reports of burglary in London.

The grass at Parsons Green is seen dried and brown due to the recent hot weather in London, Britain, July 14, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Yann Tessier)

Why?

Because the proportion of reported burglaries attended by a police officer has fallen to 50 per cent.

The JCF must be held to account and must be seen by the public to be doing its job. There is too much of a somnambulant approach with criminals viewing the JCF as posing no threat. They don’t fear them and as a result, the country suffers. Too many crimes go unsolved in Jamaica.

Sir Mark Rowley said: “ We’re going to get back to the scene of every burglary in the home. We’re never going to turn up to every single crime and the public understands that but something as severe as burglary needs a proper policing response.

“It’s too serious an intrusion not to have someone turn up. We recently got as low as 50 per cent on that and that’s not acceptable. So that’s a first step in terms of getting more reliable, alongside putting more officers in communities, which people will see over the next year or so.”

Sir Rowley has come in to clean house and restore the public’s trust in the police. The way he sees it, the Metropolitan Police has let down the public and to some extent failed the people within the organisation.

It is imperative that Major-General Anderson gets the Jamaican public on the JCF’s side. It is its biggest ally in the fight against crime.

Commissioner of Police Major General (ret’d) Antony Anderson addressing media personnel at a Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) press briefing on August 2, 2022. (Photo: Contributed)

Britain’s top cop’s prophetic words should resonate with the head of the JCF.

“The good majority who come to work and do amazing things on behalf of the public day in and day out have been let down by not being set up properly to succeed with their job. That’s what I’m trying to deal with.”

Major-General Anthony Anderson must be commended for the recent launch of Operation Relentless II which sees the police and army working together to go after gangsters and those involved in bringing illegal guns into the country. This initiative will also target drugs and lottery scamming.

“This operation features a suite of specific and planned tactical operations designed to target those gunmen, scammers and other criminals who have no regard for life and who have been behind the recent shootings and murders.

“We have been gathering intelligence on persons who are funding these violent crimes through lottery scamming and drug trafficking activities with a view to prosecution. We will also be working with other local and overseas law enforcement partners to capture and extradite some of these persons,” said the police commissioner.

This latest move signals intent to get after the criminals and confront them. The law enforcement agencies will have to be adequately resourced in this fight. You can’t bring a catapult to a gunfight.

What is equally disturbing both in Jamaica and the UK is the high number of sex offenses and increase in sexual predators. Is this a reflection of the general malaise in today’s society and the breakdown in family life? Can the lapse in the moral fabric of the country ever be reversed? Shouldn’t women and children always be protected?

(Photo: Facebook @JamaicaConstabularyForce)

“There are many men in the city, sadly, who are stalkers, they’re rapists, they’re involved in domestic violence.

“The thing we bring to solving this problem, alongside other agencies who offer more supportive role to victims, the thing we bring most of all, is the ability to identify and target those dangerous individuals,” said Rowley.

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