HomeNewsBriefJamaica Police Killings Drop Sharply in 2014
BRIEF

Jamaica Police Killings Drop Sharply in 2014

JAMAICA / 17 DEC 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Jamaica is on track to report just over 100 killings by police officers this year, drastically lower than the 258 reported fatal shootings by security forces in 2013 -- a reduction that could be partly attributable to the work of an anti-impunity commission set up in 2010. 

The difference between the two years was particularly notable in October 2014, when the commission reported just five civilans killed by security forces, compared to 40 civilians killed during the same month in 2013. This is also the first year since 2004 that police have killed less than 200 civilians, according to the Associated Press

The AP cited the Independent Commission of Investigations, which was created in 2010 following the killing of 70 civilians in a police raid, as a significant factor in lowering the number of police killings.

Last year, the commission was given the power to arrest and prosecute law enforcement officials -- something that could previously only be done by an internal police division or public prosecutors. 

Two police officers were convicted earlier this year after failing to cooperate with the commission, and 11 police from a single unit are currently under investigation for murder. 

"A clear message is being sent that all police killings are being rigorously investigated," a representative of the human rights watchdog group Amnesty International told the AP. 

The reduction in police killings could also be linked to the scaling back of early morning police raids in slums, which frequently resulted in civilian casualties, according to Hamish Campbell, the deputy commissioner of the investigative commission.

InSight Crime Analysis

The 2014 drop in Jamaica police killings indicates that independent investigations and monitoring can be effective in reducing excessive use of force by law enforcement -- an essential precursor to garnering the trust in police that is necessary for them to do their job properly. 

With a murder rate of 44.2 per 100,000 residents, Jamaica is ranked among the most violent countries in the world. By reducing the use of lethal force, and thus increasing respect for their work at a community level, police could begin having a real impact on citizen security. According to one slum-dwelling Kingston resident, this is already beginning to happen: "Police always used to come with guns cocked, but more of them are calmer now and have a better attitude," she told the AP.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Jamaica 

Other countries in the region could potentially take a lesson from Jamaica's experience with the investigative commission. For example, law enforcement officials in Brazil have reportedly killed over 11,000 civilians in the past five years, amid a police culture in which extreme force and extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals are considered acceptable behavior. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 3 MAR 2016

Following a damaging sex scandal, Colombia's new police chief is attempting to restore his institution's image while also reducing crime,…

CARIBBEAN / 9 JUN 2014

An official in the Dominican Republic stated that the majority the country's contract killings involve former police officers, revealing not…

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2018

A security operation looking to regain control of the Bolivian border town of San Matías has revealed the extent to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…