Former Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington has said states of emergency should not be viewed as a crime fighting mechanism or strategy, adding that it is difficult to assess their effectiveness.
Speaking Monday on the Morning Agenda on Power 106, Mr. Ellington said what needs to be assessed are the strategies of the security forces that are supported by a state of emergency.
The discussion comes in the wake of Sunday's declaration of a state of emergency in the Kingston East Police Division.
Mr. Ellington said states of emergency are needed to fill a gap, such as detaining individuals for an extended period.
"So I have no doubt that the security forces would have presented to the government very credible intelligence on what is happening in the community and what they are able to do with their existing resources and capabilities and therefore what additional powers they'd need so that they can execute the total strategy and achieve the objectives that they have in mind; and therefore, I am expecting the states of emergency to be limited and specific in terms of the area over which it is imposed, the length of time," he said.
He said the strategies of the security forces should be made known, especially in light of the extraordinary powers being requested, so that the communities can be able to hold them accountable.
Mr. Ellington also agreed that states of emergency should be time bound.
"The declaration of the state of emergency over a community imposes certain restrictions on civil liberties, so you can't have that going indefinitely, because what you're actually asking citizens to do is give up something more in return for, and if what is promised is not delivered then the state of emergency loses its legitimacy," he asserted.