History

The Force’s history and traditions are indeed coloured by centuries of British tutelage. In fact, the institution of Parish Constable was brought to Jamaica by the English Colonist after they captured Jamaica in 1655. It is apparent that during those years the community recognized the necessity for an agency to maintain law and order. The earliest record of the Office of Constable in Jamaica was found in a letter from Charles II of England in 1671. This letter advised the Provost Marshall to convene an assembly for the governance of the Island. The letter also specified that it was the duty of the citizens to volunteer for service in the Office of Constable, and that the constables in turn were to give notice to free-holders of the convening of such assembly.

The use of law enforcement in Jamaica expands in 1716 when night watchmen were appointed to serve the cities of Port Royal, Kingston, and the parishes of Saint Catherine and Saint Andrew. In 1832 the first attempt to establish a permanent police force began, and William Ramsay was appointed Inspector General of the police force in 1835. This force continued in service until 1865, the year of the Morant Bay Rebellion. This uprising demonstrated the vulnerability of peace and law on Jamaica and caused the establishment of an improved police force, the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The force began operation with 984 members, under the direction of an Inspector General appointed by the British Governor to the island, and continues to carry out police duties to the present day.

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