Dr Carl Williams has been installed as the new head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
The command was handed over to him from Glenmore Hinds in a ceremony at the Police Officers Club on Hope Road in St Andrew this afternoon.
In his acceptance speech Williams said that he was humbled by the confidence the Jamaican people have placed in him.
I am deeply honoured to stand before you today as the 28th Commissioner of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
I would like to thank the Police Service Commission for entrusting me with the responsibility to lead the men and women of this organisation that I have served for the past 30 years.
I also wish to express my gratitude to the people of Jamaica for their expressions of support and their prayers.
I am humbled by the confidence that you have placed in me, and accept the outpouring of support as an indication of a national commitment from the people of Jamaica to work hand in hand with the security forces in ensuring the safety of all Jamaicans.
As we continue to build a broad consensus around the policing of our society, I will be counting on the full participation of all well-thinking Jamaicans.
It is only through active collaboration between communities and the police that we can hope to secure our nation.
The responsibility for leadership of the Jamaica Constabulary Force is not a job for the faint hearted, and I ask you to pause for a moment to acknowledge the presence of my predecessors.
As Commissioners of Police, you know only too well the successes and the failures, the victories and the defeat, and the awesome responsibility that has rested on your shoulders.
Even as you have led the men and women of this organization, you have also mourned with the grieving mothers who have lost their sons and daughters to violence, and with the bereaved families of the members who have given their lives in service to this country.
On behalf of all the men and women of the JCF, I thank you for your service.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the challenge faced by the police in Jamaica today is one that you understand only too well.
Throughout history, the policing of human society has been fraught with tension.
The police are charged with the responsibility as primary guarantors of the human rights of every citizen, yet, in protecting those rights, they must often act to restrain the freedom of those who disregard our laws and seek to violate the rights of the innocent.
It is the duality inherent in this unique role of the police, as both law enforcer and protector of rights,that often brings the police and citizens into conflict.
Here in Jamaica, it is an unfortunate fact that the police still have a challenging relationship with the communities that we seek to serve.
Every day, the men and women of the JCF fearlessly confront the task of protecting the innocent and vulnerable from those who have scant regard for the value of human life.
The vast majority of our police officers serve with honour and dignity as they put their lives on the line.
Yet, too often, even as we strive to defend the innocent, there are those whose actions violate the very rights that we have sworn to protect.
I want to assure the people of Jamaica that, under my leadership, the JCF will do everything within its power to respond to your concerns about the conduct of the police.
We will ensure that there is accountability at all levels in the JCF, and our police officers will be held to the highest standards of integrity.
The communities that we serve must come to rely on the police as protectors of their rights.
This is the only basis upon which we can build respect and mutual trust between the people of Jamaica and the police who serve them.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I understand that concerns about corruption among public officials, and particularly within the JCF, has deep implications for our ability to engender trust and maintain respect for our systems of governance.
I give you my personal commitment that, under my watch, the JCF will act decisively to remove any member who has chosen the path of corruption.
The creation of the new MOCA, which combines the best resources of the former Anti-Corruption Branch and MOCA Task Force, will strengthen our ability to root out and prosecute those who undermine the mission of the security forces, and who tarnish the reputation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
The reduction of crime remains the top priority for the JCF, and we remain unrelenting in our quest to bring criminal offenders to justice.
We will never yield to criminal offenders who prey upon the innocent and vulnerable in the society.
As we pursue our goal to make Jamaica a safer society, we will discharge our duties with absolute impartiality and with a firm commitment to the rule of law.
This will assure every Jamaican of their right to equal treatment under the law, and ensure that no citizen is seen as above the law, whether they are a member of the public, a police officer or a public official.
Whether you are a victim of praedial larcency in a rural parish, or a victim of violent crime in an urban community; whether you live in Cherry Gardens or in Seaview Gardens, you are entitled to, and should expect to receive, the full protection of the law.
The JCF that we know today has come a long way since its creation in 1867.
We have seen the move towards the creation of a more professional service and today our members are better trained and equipped to deal with the challenges that we face.
As our environment changes, technological advancements require that we develop operational strategies that will allow us to respond to new challenges.
We must continue to use the force multipliers of technology and intelligence-led policing to make us more efficient and effective.
But we must also be prepared to make changes in our way of thinking and our modus operandi that will result in the transformation of our organisational culture.
A wise person once said that in order to win a war, our battles are too important to leave only to our generals.
As your Commissioner, I understand that each police officer must play his or her part in achieving the vision and creating a new ethos for policing in Jamaica.
It is also clear that we need to move towards policing not only by consent but by direct collaboration through public engagement.
Each Jamaican has a role in maintaining the safety of our society, and the JCF will renew our efforts to engage your support in keeping our communities safe.
As part of our commitment to greater transparency and accountability, I undertake to keep you fully informed on major developments within the JCF in the coming months.
The JCF maintains primary responsibility for the fight against crime, but we understand the critical contribution of our many partners.
We will therefore continue to work hand in hand with the Jamaica Defence Force, INDECOM, other law enforcement agencies, human rights advocates, civil society groups and our international partners to achieve our vision of becoming a high quality professional service that is valued and trusted by all the citizens of Jamaica.
In closing, I want to acknowledge the efforts of the decent, hard-working, brave and loyal officers at all ranks who daily perform at the highest standards with unflagging determination and commitment to keep the people of Jamaica safe, even under extreme pressure and at risk to their own personal safety.
It is my profound belief that our society can join together as a strong and united force to reduce crime and violence and improve the security of this great nation.
Thank you for your continued support, and may God bless Jamaica, Land we love.