New Technology to enhance Jamaica’s Police crime fighting ability

As part of the efforts to apply new technologies to crime fighting, Jamaica’s National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, announced that, arrangements have been finalized to purchase 154 computers and related software for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The equipment will enable the police to link over a wide area network and would be used specifically for crime analysis.

The Minister, who was making his contribution to the budget debate in Gordon House, also stated that during the course of the year, “we will be going to tender for proposals to install a full management information system for the police and the Department of Correctional Services, which will be linked to the courts.”

The system, which is being provided by the government of Jamaica and the Inter American Development Bank’s Citizen Security and Social Justice Program, would give the JCF vastly increased and modern capacity to communicate, transfer information, manage and deploy resources and generally to be more effective in managing itself in crime fighting.

“Ultimately, we will aim to have every officer on the beat or in his/her patrol car able to access information in critical crime prevention and crime fighting areas (such as) stolen motor vehicles, outstanding arrest warrants, illegal firearms, information on fugitives etc,” Dr. Phillips informed. “Also, in order to further optimize the benefits of the amendments to the Fingerprint Act the police force would be acquiring an Automated Palm and Fingerprint Identification System,” the minister stated.

“Negotiations are now complete and we expect the contract with the suppliers, SAGEM SA of France, to be signed by May, following which work to install and implement the system (including the conversion of existing prints to digital form) will begin immediately and be completed by early 2006,” he told the House.

Within the next three months, the force would also receive the Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS), for installation at the Forensic Laboratory, to allow for automated cross-matching of ammunition and firearms.

Another critical project to be enhanced this year, the Minister indicated, would be the upgrading of the JCF Wireless Communications Network. “We have gone out to tender to acquire a new, modern, digital microwave network to replace the old, unreliable analogue system. This very week, the National Contracts Commission is expected to make a decision on the recommended bidder, and implementation should be within 12 months,” he informed.

This digital network is expected to be a central element in the deployment and utilization of new technologies by the JCF. According to Dr. Phillips, it would be the first step in the full upgrade and modernization of the force’s radio system and provide the platform for the speedy and cost efficient movement of data and video involved in many of the new technologies being adopted by the police.

The National Security Minister further stated, that “The provision of a new public morgue for Kingston, was expected to positively impact the police’s investigative capacities.”

The morgue will protect specimens for forensic analyses, the Minister said, which will allow for more killers to be brought to justice, and also provide greater convenience for relatives awaiting post mortems.

The National Security Minister also announced a number of short-term measures to deal with the upsurge in criminal activity, including an immediate increase in the capacity of the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) from ten percent of the force’s establishment to 20 percent.

In addition the Special Anti-Crime Task Force (SACTF), will be increased by an additional 150 officers, with the first 50 having already been placed. “We have also secured specialists training for the SACTF from overseas experts, in hostage rescue and control of public disorder,” the Minister informed.

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