The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has a newly refurbished Polygraph Unit, which will provide for enhanced vetting of applicants and serving members of the force.
Undertaken at a cost of $92 million, the project included renovation of the reception area, testing rooms, kitchen, and restrooms, as well as the provision of new polygraph equipment and furniture.
It was executed through partnership and funding from the International Narcotics and Law (INL) Enforcement Section of the United States Embassy in Kingston, which officially handed over the unit during a ceremony held at the National Police College of Jamaica in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine on Friday, June 3.
The funding also supported the training of JCF officers in the specialised area.
National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang, in his address at the function, said that the Polygraph Unit plays a key role in strengthening and maintaining the integrity of the JCF, through the screening of applicants for enlistment and re-admission, and promotion of members.
Dr. Chang noted that the unit’s vetting process supports the work of the Ethics Committee, which looks into unethical and corrupt behaviors.
“In some areas where officers are going into special assignment -we are looking at some areas of Government where extremely sensitive activity goes on – we may find members being polygraphed more often than the average, other than for promotion and re-admission. The polygraph unit is a crucial unit and a crucial part of the work of the security forces,” he noted further.
Minister Chang expressed his appreciation to the United States Government for its partnership in strengthening this critical aspect of Jamaica’s law enforcement framework.
Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, in his remarks, said that the unit is important, particularly in light of the JCF’s increased recruitment drive.
“It is important that the people, at least at the point we get them, that they have the right character …which is even more important now because we have ramped up our recruiting,” he said.
Approximately 1,000 persons are recruited into the force annually, with over 1,200 members enrolled last year.
United States Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Nick Perry, in his address, commended the JCF for its efforts in combatting corruption through its ongoing anti-corruption policies and strategies.
“It is the JCF’s policy to polygraph all JCF recruits as well as officers within the force, who are seeking promotion and assignment to specialised units. Therefore, it is vital for the JCF to have a well-trained and staffed Polygraph Unit, along with a secure space for polygraph examinations, to help identify and eliminate potentially unethical recruits and officers,” he said.
He noted the US Government’s commitment to assisting Jamaica’s anti-corruption activities.