Commish: Obey the rules of engagement - Anderson warns cops to follow guidelines when dealing with dangerous children
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson said that while some of the nation's children pose a danger to the police, he is urging the lawmen to obey the rules of engagements as outlined under the Child Justice Guidelines (CJG) when they come in contact with them.
"We know the reality where some of the children don't operate like children and are very dangerous," said Anderson, who was speaking at a CJG training seminar for members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force in Montego Bay recently.
"That's the reality, but we can't let them shape our actions, our discussion, and our behaviour," said Anderson, who added that to act otherwise would be creating more of a problem. "We must agree that what we do here in terms of how we treat children who come in contact with the criminal justice system is going to impact many things because clearly, the input into gangs comes from schools and comes from children."
According to him, after three and a half decades in the field of security, he has come to the realisation that gangs require constant recycling to survive. He said that the way to cripple the gangs is to cripple the inflow of new members.
"None of those gangs have the same people who were there from the beginning. They have been recycled probably five, six, seven times since. We have to stop the inflow, and as far as the policing, the law-enforcement side of it, that inflow starts to change at first contact."
Anderson said that the police and other law-enforcement officers need to match up with the performance expectations of the general citizenry as they are often disappointed when expectations are not met.
"So what I'm saying is, there is an expectation. We can stretch ourselves to embrace new things, and once we have internalised it, I have no doubt that the officers here, once you agree and you do that shift internally and that shift collectively about this, then you are going to produce results that are beyond the expectations, even your expectations," said Anderson.
In speaking to what needs to be done to address the situation, Anderson said that there is a need for a vision of the sort of society and the sort of children we want, a society that does not allow for a constant reproduction of children who are in conflict with the law.
"What we want out of this is a consistent minimum standard that we will never drop below in terms of the way we interact with our young people," said Anderson. "The child guidelines provide a good guide for everyone to set a standard that we can be assured and ensure our public and our communities that this is how we are going to interact with our children who come in contact with us," he said.