This was announced by portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, at the closing ceremony for the Tourism Safety and Security District Constables Training Programme at the National Police College of Jamaica in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, on Tuesday.
Mr. Bartlett noted that emphasis would be placed on the acquisition of intelligence-gathering equipment and technology to improve the police’s ability to track criminals.
“We believe that an emphasis on intelligence gathering and the better use of technology (are) critical tools to drive greater detection and monitoring,” he said.
Mr. Bartlett noted that over the next few weeks, his Ministry will be partnering with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), to fine-tune arrangements in terms of the allocation for the specific items.
Mr. Bartlett pointed out that the commitment is in keeping with the Ministry’s ongoing partnership with the National Security Ministry, to boost its crime-fighting capabilities.
He noted that to date, the TEF has provided $1 billion towards the acquisition of vehicles; rehabilitation of police stations and other buildings; acquisition of equipment to upgrade marine resources; and the commissioning of closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems.
In the meantime, Minister Bartlett praised the district constables, who have been trained to serve the island’s resort areas, reminding them that they have a special role to play in safeguarding Jamaica’s tourism industry.
For his part, National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague said the ongoing collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and other stakeholders is important in ensuring that the safety and security concerns of the industry are properly addressed.
He noted that the graduation marked an important step in providing targeted solutions to the challenges faced.
Minister Montague said the training programme serves to boost the graduates’ proficiencies in crime-fighting techniques and equip them with the soft skills needed to effectively carry out their duties.
The training programme, which was funded by TEF at a cost of $106 million, is intended to strengthen the formal security arrangements in resort communities and help to effectively tackle the issue of visitor harassment.
This first batch of 89 district constables, who completed six weeks of rigorous training, will function under a special arm of the JCF and have policing powers. They will be deployed to resort towns across the island.
Another 11 officers will be added to bring the initial complement to 100 by the end of the year, and a total of 250 officers will be trained by 2018.