TASKED with the job of leading the fight against corruption at all levels in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Selvin Hay is on a mission to protect the reputation of the thousands of honest men and women in the force, while weeding out the corrupt.
“The majority of our members are hard-working police officers, very professional, but we have a number among us who continue to bring the organisation into disrepute.
“I take this opportunity to appeal to the vast majority of our members, who are hard-working and professional, and to say to them that they are under no obligation to continue to bear the burden of corruption perpetrated by some members,” said Hay in his first full interview with the Jamaica Observer since being appointed inspector general of the JCF in February.
His appointment came as part of an expansion of the role of the Inspectorate of Constabulary (IOC) to address matters dealing with professional standards and breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act in the JCF.
Hay noted that following the amalgamation of the Anti-Corruption Branch of the JCF with what is now the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), the force has been without an entity dedicated to deal with acts of corruption by its members.
“We have therefore decided to revitalise the JCF’s anti-corruption capability, under the inspectorate to once again focus attention on police corruption – not that MOCA isn’t doing that, but the day to day focus on corruption in the JCF, MOCA is not able to do that based on the fact that it is still not yet fully staffed and resourced, and its focus is on the wider public sector corruption.”
“So this is where the Inspectorate comes in as we are going to re-establish that focus and target police corruption in a more holistic way,” added Hay.
He underscored that the IOC will not only deal with police corruption, as it will look at the standards and the adherence to the policies and guidelines of the JCF.
“So it is really going to be a big task but we are in the process of recruiting, getting additional staff, and putting in our strategies. We are also looking to refocus the existing staff into a broader perspective looking to treat with issues which hold the potential to undermine the reputation of the organisation,” said Hay.
According to Hay, there will be no conflict between the roles of the the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), MOCA and the Inspectorate.
“INDECOM’s role is looking at the police’s use of force, but the day-to-day activities of corrupt police officers who bring our organisation into disrepute comes with their interaction with members of the public.
“The IOC will look at areas such as customer service — whether it is the interaction with public transport operators, whether it [is] where members of the public go to the police stations to report issues and the right actions are not taken — neither MOCA nor INDECOM have the capability to treat with those issues, and that is where the inspectorate comes in,” said Hay.
The primary function of the IOC also includes conducting audits and inspections at all police formations, and to ensure strict adherence to the standards and procedures of the organisation.