KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of National Security Peter Bunting says that Cabinet has approved a merger of the Jamaica Constabulary force (JCF) and the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) through the incorporation of the members of the ISCF into the JCF.
The incorporation of the ISCF into the JCF means Jamaica will have a single police force which will, among other things; result in an increase in the number of police personnel engaged in frontline crime prevention and control activities, the Security Ministry said in statement Tuesday.
The merger will be effected during the 2014/2015 financial year, the Ministry said.
Bunting noted that the merging of the two forces has been recommended by the Wolfe Report of 1991 as well as five separate reports and studies since.
In commenting on the benefits of the merging of the two entities, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington said that the two entities have been operating together as a virtual single force in recent times, but the realisation of all benefits required policy and legislative support.
He noted that the existence of two separate legal entities, operating within the same space and performing similar, and in some cases identical, functions presented a number of operational challenges.
Commissioner Ellington argued that the merging of the entities will result in significant efficiency gains. These include:
a) The implementation of a single command and communication structure;
b) Elimination of duplication in administrative services
c) Expansion in the skill sets of police personnel through the unification of training programmes
d) Rationalization of various overheads such as rental of property, and
e) Creation of the means by which the transmission and inculcation of a core set of common values can be effected.
The decision to seek Cabinet approval for the incorporation of the ISCF into the JCF followed months of consultation with several stakeholders within both the ISCF and the JCF, as well as with other parties.
Bunting Tuesday morning met with representatives of the police associations, the JCF and ISCF senior management, and senior policy managers of the MNS.
At that meeting, it was agreed to establish an Implementation Task Force comprising representatives of these groups to finalise the draft implementation plan, which will include comprehensive communication with members of the JCF and ISCF as well as the public to ensure a smooth transition.