Laing wants youths targeted for police force
Former high-profile detective and executive chairman at Supreme Promotions Limited, organisers of Sting Isaiah Laing, is weighing in on the challenges that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has faced in finding suitable recruits.
Laing, who joined the force at the age of 19, opined that "the earlier or younger the individuals are, the better it is to train them up in the way they should go". And that is why he supports Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Wayne Josephs' recent proposal to target schools for recruits. He was lamenting that the ongoing recruitment drive was not yielding the desired results.
"What SSP Josephs said is very practical because when you spark the interest from a young age, you are more likely to get a better breed of police. I applaud him for coming out and making that suggestion. It is a good idea," Laing told THE STAR. "If the police force is struggling to find suitable candidates, maybe what them need to do is get those who are active in the force to go into the classrooms and educate the teenagers. Because once an individual reach into them 20s, outside of those institutions and gone into the world, it easier for their views to get twisted."
The Sting promoter shared that when he joined the force, most of his colleagues were between 18 and 20, and unlike many youth making their career decisions at a late stage in secondary school, he knew from primary school that he wanted to be a policeman.
"Nowadays, police get so much bad press and labels from the public that even the little children and young adults are influenced by what they are hearing. We have to change this as well. With the ongoing recruitment drive not giving the results the JCF wanted, there must be another avenue they can take," he said.
"It is important for them to also get the teachers involved in the recruitment process. See if the persons who are spending most of the time with the youths [can] provide a good assessment of those interested, check their reports to see how they perform through the years, and start the process of observation and elimination from there. That's the best action if it is actually initiated," he added.
Laing has previously expressed a desire to return to the force, where he had spent approximately two decades prior to his retirement in 1997. However, he has now admitted that he could "not go out on the street again".
"People think me is one of them police that went out and shoot, shoot, shoot...I'd like to be known as one who reasoned with the youths, send fi dem parents and make dem work to improve on their behaviour. Some parents would openly say 'dem cyaa change' but we never know what one minute of reasoning can do, the impact it can have on a youth. I knew I wanted to be a detective and that's what I became and did a good job at it because me know how to live in people brain. We need to get into them youths yah brain from early," Laing said