Bailey defends JCF’s ability to make arrests in gun finds
Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey was in a combative mood yesterday when he fielded questions from the media about the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) ability to land convictions when they make a major gun or drug bust.
In recent times, the JCF has made several high-profile seizures at various ports but have yet to announce an arrest, with the most recent seizures occurring in Montego Bay, St James, when more than 80 guns were seized in a one-week span. Critics, however, are questioning whether the police are acting on intelligence or just tips. The senior lawman scoffed at the remarks during the JCF's monthly press briefing in Kingston.
"We are the practitioners, this is not a CSI (referring to the popular TV series) that we are looking at. I mean people watch and they believe that what they see is what is happening in the real world. Real policing is different from what you see in CSI," said Bailey, who is in charge of crime and security in the JCF.
According to Bailey, an investigation into the shipment of guns or drugs was not as simple as the public perceive it to be, while stating that the JCF enjoys a fruitful relationship with its international crime-fighting partners.
"Any law enforcement across the globe will tell you that one of the most difficult types of control delivery is firearm. Firearms, if we engage in that type of activity, and we lose the firearm, we have to consider the risk that is involved. Do we take the risk of allowing those firearms to escape our grasps and then become a threat to the nation? Most organised nations will tell you that the only way that can be done is if we are involved from the get-go. What I will say further is that most of those recoveries were based on intelligence, and intelligence sometime local, and from our international partners. We have an excellent relationship with our partners in terms of sharing information, not only relating to firearms but in relation to narcotics," Bailey said.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson said that the JCF is seeking ways to strengthen its relation with the Jamaica Customs Agency in a response to questions from the media about the likeliness of police officers being stationed at the ports to man operations.
"This is an area that is being looked at by government. The police, we have a port division that operates in conjunction with other security personnel on the ports, our collaboration with Jamaica Customs Agency is growing from strength to strength and has resulted in a lot of good work recently and seizures at the ports. We have been asked to look at how we would expand that to meet our current and future needs at the ports. But the port issue and the border management issue is a live one. We have met as well with the heads of the various entities with responsibilities to look at this as it is an area of interest from the Ministry of National Security," Anderson said.
According to the police, as of February 4, 134 illegal guns have been seized since the start of the year, which represents a 24 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2021.