A report which was commissioned by the National Security Ministry into the operations of the scandal-ridden Firearm Licensing Authority, FLA, has raised concerns about the level of vetting of staff at the organization which is now facing increased public scrutiny.
The so-called 2017 Lincoln Allen Report has also raised concerns about the storage of guns at the FLA, saying there needs to be increased security so that guns aren’t stolen.
The report was completed earlier this year by a team led by then Acting Chief Executive Officer of the FLA, Lincoln Allen.
It was submitted to then FLA Board Chairman, Dennis Wright, on January 31 this year.
Mr. Wright and the rest of the FLA Board resigned earlier this month amid a scandal over allegations that guns were being approved for criminals and people of questionable character.
The findings and recommendations of the Allen report have not been made public by the government.
However, Nationwide News has obtained portions of the report which say the FLA — which is now being run without a Board — has outgrown its organizational structure.
The Allen report, which was completed approximately eight months ago, recommended that a series of urgent actions be taken at the FLA.
Mr. Allen’s team had been asked to identify systematic weaknesses at the organization and propose mitigation strategies.
His report notes, that as of November last year, only 44-percent of the staff at the FLA, were vetted by the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
It says the extent of that vetting was a finding that no adverse traces were found by the police against those employees.
Mr. Allen and his team recommended that this must change.
The report says a more rigorous vetting process should be implemented where all members of staff are subjected to a comprehensive security clearance process.
The Allen report also expressed concern regarding the way firearms are being stored at the FLA.
A recommendation was made to increase the security of special storage areas at the facility to prevent the possibility of guns being stolen.
Concern was also raised in the report about an instance where a Firearm Dealership was allowed to import guns and the firearms were not test fired by the FLA as required by the agency’s protocol which was made mandatory in 2013.
The Allen report recommended that an investigation be carried out to determine if there’re any other instances where the FLA protocol had been breached.
The test firing of the guns is usually carried out in order to capture the ballistic fingerprint of the weapons.
This would be useful to investigators if the guns are used to commit crimes.
The report also states that the FLA has outgrown its current organizational structure.
Consequently, a comprehensive review of the organization’s structure and its components was recommended by Mr. Allen and his team.
The report recommended that several positions be created at the agency to help manage the increasing workload.
It’s been recommended the posts of Deputy CEO, a Senior Legal Officer and an Audit Director be created.
The Allen report also suggested that the post of a Director of Security and Compliance be created to help monitor the integrity of work being carried out by FLA staff.
It’s also recommended that a Performance Appraisal System be used to evaluate staff.
According to the report, given the public perception that systematic weaknesses exist at the FLA, a security committee should also be created to help restore integrity to operations at the agency.
The report noted that the high profile case of Patrick Powell’s missing file has contributed to the public perception that a lack of transparency and corruption prevail at the FLA.
The report was commissioned by National Security Minister, Robert Montague, last year amid the public outrage over the revelation that the FLA could not account for Powell’s file.
At the time, Minister Montague had declared that the systems at the FLA were either corrupt or broken.
The Allen Report says, going forward, no file should be allowed to leave the compound of the FLA.
It says an improved system should be put in place to track the movement of files within the agency.
According to the report, the FLA must try to ensure that its operations are transparent and free from any form of corruption or collusion.
It says a culture of accountability must be allowed to prevail at the FLA towards restoring public confidence in the agency and improving Jamaica’s ratings on the Corruption Perception Index, CPI.
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