JCF officers complete landmark driving exercise

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

A total of 21 Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), 21 police  officials have graduated from a newly accredited driver training program.

The police high command has described the development as a landmark achievement and a key initiative aimed at enhancing the Force’s operational capabilities.

The graduation, held at the National Police College of Jamaica (NPCJ), emphasises the JCF’s commitment to improving the quality of its personnel through rigorous training and professional development.

Deputy Commissioner Richard Stewart, head of the Administration and Support Services Portfolio, which oversees recruitment and training, hailed the graduation as a significant milestone in the JCF’s ongoing efforts to deliver high-quality policing services.

“This graduation is a milestone achievement. The JCF understands that high-quality service requires high-qualityinput, and to that extent, we are examining all our support services, including Driver Training,” Deputy Commissioner Stewart said.

The driver training program, now accredited by the National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET), involved a comprehensive review of staff, facilities,curricula, and processes.

This accreditation ensures that the program meets the high standards necessary to produce competent and professional drivers within the force.

“On January 27, 2023, we were notified that the Driver Training Department has been approved for ATO status.

The process involved scrutiny of our staff, facilities, curricula, processes, structure, and system to test their suitability to produce graduates with the characteristics to satisfy stated or implied needs,” Stewart explained.

The Deputy Commissioner highlighted the importance of maintaining this status through annual audits, emphasizing the necessity of upholding high standards to ensure road safety and the effective discharge of duties by JCF officers.

“Once the status is achieved, it must be maintained; hence, there is an annual audit requirement. Though the standards are exacting, for us, it’s a necessity as we have a duty of care for the safety of road users, which can only be discharged where our drivers have demonstrated that they possess the competencies that research has proven as necessary,” he added.

The program addresses a critical gap in Jamaica’s road safety framework, where mandatory training for entry-level commercial drivers has not been uniformly enforced.

The Deputy Commissioner underscored the relevance of such training, citing data that shows a significant percentage of fatal crashes involve commercial vehicles.

“The fatal crash data from January 1, 2024, to June 22, 2024, shows that of the 167 fatal collisions recorded, 29 or 17% involved commercial vehicles, and 30 or 18% of the total involved PPV.

When combined, it reveals that some 38% of vehicles involved in fatal crashes are used to transport loads (people/cargo). Thispercentage of involvement is significant enough for us to be attentive,” Stewart noted.

The graduation ceremony combined two batches of commercial drivers at levels 2 and 3, reflecting the JCF’s strategic focus on developing specialized skills within its ranks.

Deputy Commissioner Stewart reiterated the broader impact of this training initiative, not only for the JCF’s 16,000 members but also for the public.

“The High Command recognizes that there is a need for commercial drivers, and as we develop this capacity, we will not only serve our 16,000 members within the JCF but also other members of the public,” he said.

In his closing remarks, Stewart congratulated the graduates and thanked the team at the Driving School for their dedication and hard work.

“To the graduands, congratulations and a thank you tothe team at the Driving School. It is of importance to highlight that this graduation combines two

batches of Commercial Drivers at level 2 and 3 in our journey to ensure the delivery of high-quality service,” he concluded.

“The graduation of these 21 officers marks a pivotal step in the JCF’s commitment to professional development and operational excellence, setting a new standard for driver training within theForce, the JCF official said.