Don't waste time, money, Mr Commissioner

April 27, 2016
Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams

What a gwaan peeps? So I hear that the Commissioner of pPolice, Dr Carl Williams, is entertaining thoughts of commissioning what he calls a 'detailed study of the link between violent dancehall lyrics and crime'.

What you think? Me? I think that the commissioner means well, but it sounds like a waste of time and money that would probably only benefit the researchers. I'm sure other studies already exist that could prove instructive. The goodly commissioner should just take a trip up to UWI, and have a nice long sit down with Dr Donna Hope, who I'm sure would be only too happy to give him a reading list, an annotated bibliography, and nuff more study that him can deeply study.




This study being mooted appears already to be predicated on the flawed and problematic assumption of some causative relationship between a person's playlist and that person's inclination to be engaged in criminal activity. So what happens if the research is done and the findings are interpreted in a way that reinforce the obvious premise of the force's top brass? What will be the next step? censorship? In this modern day and age? So instead of putting more effort into apprehending actual perpetrators of violent crimes, we'd be putting effort into censoring creative expressions that can be deemed 'violent'. Nice!

But why stop at dancehall music? I remember a time back in the days when almost every other entertainer either adopted the name of a notorious gun-slinging character from a popular cowboy movie, or just borrow the name of an actor who plays such characters. Plenty of the old time 'rude boy' lyrics paid homage to some wicked movies and series like 007 and Ocean's Eleven and so on. So, maybe the Police High Command should also try researching the effects of Hollywood movies and television shows. And books too, everything from spy novels to war comics.




I'm no expert, but I want to suggest that it would serve us all better if the good people in charge of our police force exert more serious intellectual investment and apply significant resources into the whole area of police-citizen relationship. More crimes would be solved if we could fix the deep-seated mistrust and the almost always hateful, antagonistic and adversarial relationship that exist between the police and the citizens that they are supposed to serve and protect. What say you? How come some police officers always seem so angry and hostile? A dat me would love study!

Like I said, mine is not the voice of expertise. I'm just one more concerned citizen with an independent mind asking some hard questions. I love to listen to the experts like Dr Hope though. And as the erudite lady said in a post on her Facebook page two days ago "The real focus of any study at this stage should move beyond the facile discussion on correlations between music and behaviour, and instead look at research that speaks to the broader hegemonic impulses in Western societies like ours that use dominant positioning to criminalise youth subcultures and youth popular cultural forms. This includes the deployment of various arms of the formal social structures, including the media and religious institutions which insist on the 'naturalness' of the connections between rebellious youth subcultures and various forms of crime in different locales. This is a long-standing discussion in multiple social locations, including white and metropolitan societies."

I couldn't say it better. And I couldn't agree more. How about you? Look yah nuh, my lickle jawbone can't really manage a policeman box right now still, so I hope none a dem nuh take it personal. Mi gone yah!

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