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The Jamaican government has been working with Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) on the design of indicators to support its effort to improve justice and safety. While it deals with persistent problems of violent crime, the government is trying to modernize and professionalize policing in ways that advance domestic ambitions for progress in justice and safety. Together with a team from the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management (PCJPM) at HKS, the Ministry of National Security (MNS) and Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF) are testing out a new indicator of police performance that should help managers in the 19 police divisions improve the effectiveness of effectiveness of law enforcement and, at the same time, increase public confidence in policing.
The indicator in development has focused primarily on police performance, linking operational police activities to quantifiable results or measures of “success” in crime reduction. The prototype indicator, or “hit-rate” ratio, was first imagined by Jamaica’s Commissioner of Police, Owen Lloyd Ellington, as a statistical tool that would (a) link key police “activities” such as raids and searches to “Results” such as arrests and seizures; (b) help inform decision about the effectiveness of deployment patterns; and (c) assess the impact of law enforcement strategies and the relative performance of division commanders.
With support from the British Government, the Harvard team has been working closely with an interagency team, composed of officials in the MNS and JCF, to prepare a test out a prototype of the indicator in four divisions. At training workshops in Kingston and Montego Bay, representatives of the JCF’s research and planning divisions along with front-line officials in intelligence units refined a prototype that uses existing systems of data on the number of searches and the results of those searches.
The prototype indicator is described here.