Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams will retire in the first week of next year with one major regret — that he was not able to totally burnish the image of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
“Certainly I wanted to ensure that the force was so clean that everyone would respect the members and perhaps even come to love police officers. Right now I’m not convinced that that is the case,” Commissioner Williams admitted to the Jamaica Observer on Thursday after news of his early retirement decision was publicised. “We don’t have the full respect of the public because there are some members of the force who are still inclined to do the wrong things, to be unprofessional, so that is something that I wish we had done more.”
Since taking office in September 2014, Dr Williams has given serious attention to purging the constabulary of corruption. In April this year, for instance, the JCF introduced polygraph screening for recruits as part of its strategy to prevent corrupt or tainted individuals from joining its ranks.
The initiative, implemented with the help of the United States Embassy, proved effective as the commissioner reported that by mid-August US polygraphers had already examined 191 potential recruits, of which 103 were found suitable for enlistment in the JCF.
“There were significant doubts about the other 88 that made them unsuitable to become members of the JCF,” he said on August 25 during the launch of a project, under which cops will be outfitted with body cameras.
The acquisition of that technology has been welcomed by law enforcement agencies in a number of jurisdictions as a means of reducing police abuse, as well as protecting cops from accusations of excessive force.