The capacity of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to fight cybercrime has been bolstered through the provision of technology equipment valued at $30 million to the Communication, Forensics and Cybercrime Division (CFCD).
The items, which include desktop computers, laptops, monitors, smart television, hard drives, printers, scanners among other necessities, were provided under the PRO-CYBER project, which involves collaboration between the CFCD and the Cyber Intelligence and Incident Response Branch (CIIB), under the Ministry of National Security.
Speaking at the handover ceremony held at the Office of the Commissioner of Police on Wednesday (March 29), portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said the Government of Jamaica continues to make significant investment in technology to strengthen cybersecurity capabilities.
He noted that the high dependence on technology, propelled by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, has generated new opportunities for cyberattacks, to the detriment of organisations across all industries.
Dr. Chang, who is Deputy Prime Minister, said that in the first half of 2022, the Latin America and the Caribbean Region experienced approximately 137 billion cyberattack attempts.
“Locally and most recently, the Office of the Prime Minister was the subject of a cyberattack, highlighting that cybercrime is everyone’s problem. As a result, it is pertinent that the Government of Jamaica keep abreast of the dangers associated with cyberspace and proactively position itself to deal with the emergence of new and existing cybercrimes,” the Minister said.
In it against this background, he noted, that the Ministry, through the CIIB, identified opportunities for collaboration with its agencies and departments to mainstream cyber awareness and provide resources to strengthen cybersecurity capacities.
Dr. Chang said that through an informal visit in February 2021 by the CIIB to the CFCD, a need was identified for partnership to improve the Division’s capacity to better detect, investigate and prosecute criminals.
“The visit and dialogue led to the establishment of a partnership between the Ministry’s CIIB and the CFCD, from which project PRO-CYBER was developed. The project’s main aim is to bolster the capacity of law enforcement to investigate cybercrimes expansively and effectively,” Dr. Chang said.
Project PRO-CYBER is a multi-year effort, providing strategic resources to the CFD, to increase the department’s investigative capacity.
The project involves specific focus on technology and infrastructure improvement, which is intended to impact four key areas, namely, training and development, technical equipment, software licensing and workspace renovation.
Dr. Chang said that, to date, the Ministry has been able to support CFCD by identifying training and development needs and opportunities, procure one of three software licensing tools valued at $2 million and procure technology equipment that supports the Division’s assigned mandate.
The Minister said for financial year 2023/24, the Ministry is expected to continue its partnership with the CFCD through the renovation of workspace and the provision of training opportunities.
For his part, Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson said the donation of the equipment is “very timely”.
“Technology implementation and the benefits of technology are critical for transformation here at the JCF. At the same time, as we do that, the development of our people who are going to use that technology is equally as critical,” Major Anderson said.
He added that the implementation of Project PRO-CYBER will lead to a much more capable Division over time.