The police work in a hostile environment

April 20, 2018

Jamaican policemen often take a lot of flak, some of it justified. However, this week, I empathise with the police for the job they are asked to do in dealing with an increasingly disrespectful and hostile populace.

Earlier this week, a policeman riding his bike along the main street in Christiana, Manchester, was chopped in the face by a man said to be of unsound mind. The latest word is that he will require reconstructive surgery to repair his face that was destroyed by that machete.

I don't think people understand the severity of the policeman's injury, and maybe I missed it, but I have not heard any outcry about what happened to him. The bike on which the policeman was riding was going at about 36 kph along the main street when the man, who was walking towards the bike from the opposite direction, swung the blade mightily into his face.

The combined force should have sliced his skull clean through, but I suspect the helmet he was wearing managed to absorb some of the force. The fact that he was able to get up and run afterwards, while being chased by the man, who chopped him, is somewhat a miracle.

I hope he makes a full recovery.

The other incident I became aware of was via a video I saw online recently. A policeman was trying to apprehend a man I believe a taxi driver who even while being apprehended, was actually threatening to murder the officer of the law. In the background, you could hear people telling the officer to let go of the man. (By the way, if this was the US, the man, who was resisting arrest, would be dead).




But these two incidents tell a terrifying story of what policemen encounter each day in this hostile environment we call Jamaica. Out in the Caribbean, there are policemen who have never fired a single shot or encountered someone of the nature of the man who chopped the policeman without provocation.

In Jamaica, a policeman is likely to face that every single day.

How many times do you see someone threaten to kill a policeman trying to arrest him? People will resist, they will protest innocence, but how often do you hear, "A wah yuh a do? Mi will murda yuh" or words to that effect.

We often lambaste our policemen for being hostile and unreasonable, but when you consider what they face each day, can we really blame them?

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