The Commissioner of the Independent Commission of Investigations, INDECOM, Terrence Williams, says the deaths of many mentally ill Jamaicans could have been prevented, if the police had fewer lethal weapons at their disposal.

Mr. Williams says the government has so far turned a deaf ear to the call by his office for police to be given tasers for use in confrontations, with those persons suffering from mental illnesses.

Mental illness is commonly referred to as madness in Jamaica, with sufferers treated like outcasts, even by members of their own family.

The security forces have been known to take a heavy handed approach to enforcing the law when involved in confrontations with persons said to have mental disorders.

Many of these confrontations have ended with the sick individual being fatally shot.

Terrence Williams says the police can change this reality.

He says if law enforcers are given less lethal weapons, then fewer fatalities will be registered in conflicts with the mentally ill.

Mr. Williams is proposing the use of tasers by the police.

A taser is a weapon firing barbs attached by wires to batteries, causing temporary paralysis to the victim.

The INDECOM boss says it may take the death of a mentally ill relative of a prominent member of society, for policy makers to buy into the idea of giving tasers to the police.

Mr. Williams says the time for the use of less lethal weapons by the police is now.