Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, has declared that the police “must win” each time they engage in firefights with gunmen.
Anderson was adding his voice to views made public by National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang last week, in which he stated that police officers should “fire back” if gunmen engage them in firefights.
“I hear calls all over the place to ask me to comment on what the minister had said about shooting. Every single time that the police and gunmen engage, the police must win,” the commissioner indicated.
He was speaking Wednesday while on tour in Spring Village, St Catherine, where three people were shot dead and six others injured at at football field on Sunday.
Chang has faced backlash from the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) and civil society groups such as Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ), who have suggested that the minister should retract the comments, as they seemingly suggest that police officers should “shoot to kill” when confronted by armed criminals.
However, Chang has insisted that he will not withdraw the comments, arguing that he never used the term “shoot to kill”, but rather, “fire back”.
According to Anderson, the police force ensures that its members are well-trained.
“We shoot centre of mass; that’s where we shoot, that’s where we are trained to shoot… We ensure that our members are well-trained,” he said.
Turning to Sunday’s mass shooting incident in Spring Village, Anderson said:
The enemy has a face and is identifiable, and you saw them the other day. That’s how they look like and that’s how they operate. They don’t care.
They (the gunmen) can shoot randomly. If you pressure them, they just kill everybody. We (the police) are constrained and restrained in how we function.
He added: “So when you hear the nonsense, trying to make those guys — those youngsters (young policemen) who put themselves in harm’s [way] to protect the rest of Jamaica — as the problem, it’s nonsense,” declared the commissioner.
Meanwhile, Anderson told the grieving loved ones of those killed on Sunday that the police will support them in their time of difficulty.