The Public’s Perception of the Operating Standards of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF): A Quantitative Inquiry


  • Paul Andrew Bourne Department of Institutional Research, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester
  • Caroline McLean 2Department of Nursing, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester
  • Vincent M.S. Peterkin College of Humanities, Behavioural and Social Sciences
  • James Fallah Department of Dental Hygiene, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester
  • Clifton Foster Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Sciences, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester



Jamaica Defence Force, Operating Standards, JDF, Police Constabulary Force


Introduction: The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), a military organization, collaborates with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to police society. The widespread and frequent engagement of the JDF in a paramilitary role results in regular interaction with the public. No existing studies in the current literature have examined the public’s perception of the operating standards of the JDF. Objective: This study seeks to evaluate and explore the JDF from an operational standpoint. The Operations Management Theory (OMT) is used to examine whether the public’s perception of the operating standards of the JDF has changed in the last decade (2012 -2022). Methods and materials: This research employed a national cross-sectional web-based descriptive research design. Data collection occurred from July 13, 2022, to August 11, 2022. Using the 2019 population of Jamaica obtained from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, with a 3.4% margin of error and 95% confidence interval, the calculated sample size is 831 resident Jamaicans. The response rate was 82.1% (n=762). Findings: The majority of the sampled respondents were Jamaicans (97.1%, n=766), resided in Jamaica (88.9%, n=700), females (59.6%, n=472), and resided in Manchester (19.2%, 150). Of the Jamaicans (n=764), 89.3% (n=682) of them reside in Jamaica compared to 10.7% (n=82) reside outside. Furthermore, 89.3% of Jamaicans resided in Jamaica compared to 77.3% of non-Jamaicans (?2 (1) = 3.125, P = 0.077). The findings indicate that people have lost respect for the JDF in the last 6 months. Discussion: The people’s perception of the operating standards of the JDF will provide an understanding of crime management challenges in Jamaica. Combined with effective management and implementation of strategies to meet the intended mission and vision, the JDF should consider image rebranding to address the decline in public perception and trust. Conclusion: Despite the traditional military structure of the Jamaica Defence Force, the organization has been deployed on the streets of Jamaica by political administrations to curb and remedy the difficulty of policing society, and this explains a justification for a public assessment of this organization. The public is indecisive on whether the Jamaica Defence Force is too frequently used jointly with the Police Constabulary Force to police the streets of Jamaica as well as being neutral on the overall operating standards of the organization.


Allen, C. D., & Braun III, W. G. (2013). Trust: Implications for the Army profession. Army War College Carlisle Barracks, PA.

Anker, L. (2005). Peacekeeping and public opinion.

Boucher, J. C. (2010). Evaluating the Trenton effect: Canadian public opinion and military casualties in Afghanistan (2006–2010). American Review of Canadian Studies, 40(2), 237-258.

Britannica. (nd). Security of Jamaica.

Bryant, S., Swaney, B., & Urben, H. (2021). From citizen soldier to secular saint: The societal implications of military exceptionalism (Spring 2021). Texas National Security Review.

Clements, B. (2012). Public opinion in Britain towards military action in Libya: A micro-level analysis. Politics, 32(2), 109-119.

Dunlap Jr, C. J. (1999). The police-ization of the military. Journal of Political & Military Sociology, 217-232.

Eichenberg, R. C. (2005). Victory has many friends: US public opinion and the use of military Force, 1981–2005. International security, 30(1), 140-177.

Fitzsimmons, S., Craigie, A., & Bodet, M. A. (2014). Canadian public opinion about the military: Assessing the influences on attitudes toward defence spending and participation in overseas combat operations. Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique, 47(3), 503-518.

Flores-Macías, G., & Zarkin, J. (2022). Militarisation and perceptions of law enforcement in the developing world: Evidence from a conjoint experiment in Mexico. British Journal of Political Science, 52(3), 1377-1397.

Fontaine, J., Leitson, D., Jannetta, J., & Paddock, E. (2017). Mistrust and Ambivalence between Residents and the Police: Evidence from Four Chicago Neighborhoods.

Fukuyama, F. (1995). Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, New York, NY: The Free Press.

Ganase, P. (2014). Death of a revolution. Kingston: The University of the West Indies.

Girardi, R. (2021). It’s easy to mistrust police when they keep on killing us’: A queer exploration of police violence and LGBTQ+ Victimization. Journal of Gender Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2021.1979481

Goldsmith, A. (2005). Police reform and the problem of trust. Theoretical Criminology 9(4): 443–470. DOI: 10.1177/1362480605057727

Government of Jamaica. (nd). National Security Policy for Jamaica: Towards a secure and prosperous nation. Kingston: Government of Jamaica.

Guardino, M., & Hayes, D. (2018). Foreign voices, party cues, and US public opinion about military action. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 30(3), 504-516.

Haesebrouck, T. (2019). Who follows whom? A coincidence analysis of military action, public opinion and threats. Journal of Peace Research, 56(6), 753-766.

Horn, G. R. (2021). A History of Distrust: How Knowing the Law Impacts African American Males' Perceptions of Police Encounters.

Hines, L. A., Gribble, R., Wessely, S., Dandeker, C., & Fear, N. T. (2015). Are the armed forces understood and supported by the public? A view from the United Kingdom. Armed Forces & Society, 41(4), 688-713.,Islands%20of%20the%20Eastern%20Caribbean.

Isaeva, N., Gruenewald, K., & Saunders, M. N. K. (2020). Trust theory and customer services research: Theoretical review and synthesis. The Service Industries Journal, 40(15-16), 1031–1063.

Jakobsen, P.V. (2014). The indispensable enabler: NATO’s strategic value in high-intensity operations is far greater than you think. In: Odgaard, L. (eds) Strategy in NATO. Palgrave Studies in Governance, Security and Development. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). (nd). Security Forces Launch Joint Anti-Gang Task Force. Kingston: JCF.

Jamaica Defence Force. (2021a). Origins. Kingston: Jamaica Defence Force.

Jamaica Defence Force. (2021b). Jamaica Defence Force: Roles and responsibilities. Kingston: Jamaica Defence Force.

Jordan, D., Kiras, J, D., Lonsdale, D.J., Speller, I., Tuck, C., Walton, C.D. (2016). Understanding modern warfare (Second ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-1107134195.

Klarevas, L. (2002). The "essential domino" of military operations: American public opinion and the use of Force. International Studies Perspectives, 3(4), 417-437.

Kriesberg, L., & Klein, R. (1980). Changes in public support for US military spending. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 24(1), 79-111.

Larson, E. V. (1996) Public support for US Military operations. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

Larson, E. V., & Savych, B. (2005). American public support for US military operations from Mogadishu to Baghdad. Rand Corporation.

Ledgister, F.S.J. (2019). Grenada: Revolution and Invasion, Caribbean Quarterly, 65:2, 329-331, DOI: 10.1080/00086495.2019.1607008.

Lian, B., & Oneal, J. R. (1993). Presidents, the use of military Force, and public opinion. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 37(2), 277-300.

Mader, M. (2017). Citizens’ perceptions of policy objectives and support for military action: Looking for prudence in Germany. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61(6), 1290-1314.

Mahar, A.L., Gribble, R., Aiken, A.B., Dandeker, C., Duffy, B., Gottfried, G., Wessely, S. and Fear, N.T. (2017). Public opinion of the armed forces in Canada, the UK and the US. Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health, 3(2), 2-3.

Mark, J.J. (2009). War in ancient times. World History Encyclopedia.

Ministry of Justice (MoJ). (2014). Defence Act. Kingston: MoJ.,connected%20therewith%20and%20incidental%20thereto.

Ministry of National Security. (nd). Jamaica Defence Force. Kingston: Ministry of National Security. Government of Jamaica. (nd). National Security Policy for Jamaica: Towards a secure and prosperous nation. Kingston: Government of Jamaica.

Montalvo, D. (2009). Do you trust your Armed Force?

Naidu, M. V. (2002). Security, sovereignty, and intervention: concepts and case studies. Peace Research, 34(1), 33–58.

National Army Museum. (nd). The West India Regiments.

Nichols, C. (2015). Public opinion and the military: A multivariate exploration of attitudes in Texas. Journal of Political and Military Sociology. 43.

Nisser, J. (2021) Implementing military doctrine: A theoretical model, Comparative Strategy, 40:3, 305-314, DOI: 10.1080/01495933.2021.1912514.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). (2008). The Role of the Military in a Democracy.

Ohana, D. (2010). Trust, Distrust and Reassurance: Diversion and Preventive Orders Through the Prism of Feindstrafrecht. The Modern Law Review, 73(5), 721–751.

Pereira, A.W. (2002). Military rule. Encyclopedia Britannica, 4 Feb. 2015, Accessed 3 August 2022.

Pion-Berlin, D., & Carreras, M. (2017). Armed forces, police and crime-fighting in Latin America. Journal of Politics in Latin America, 9(3), 3-26.

Pion-Berlin, D., & Dudley, D. (2020). Civil-military relations: What is the state of the field? Handbook of military sciences, 1-22.

Powell, L. A., Bourne, P., & Waller, G. (2007). Probing Jamaica's Political Culture, volume 1: Main Trends in July – August 2006 Leadership and Governance Survey. Kingston, Jamaica: Centre for Leadership and Governance.

Public Broadcasting Services (PBS). (1984). The Uses of the Military Power.

Pérez-Vincent, S. & Scartascini, C. (2021). To Fight Crime, Increase Trust.

Solar, C. (2022). Trust in the military in post-authoritarian societies. Current Sociology, 70(3), 317–337.

Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). (2019). Population statistics. Kingston: STATIN.

Taylor, F. (1911). The Principles of Scientific Management. New York: Harper & Brothers.

The Guardian. (2019). Distrust of police is a major driver of US gun violence, report warns.

The Ministry of National Security. (nd). Jamaica Defence Force. Kingston: MoNS.

Tiargan-Orr, R., & Eran-Jona, M. (2016). The Israeli public’s perception of the IDF: Stability and change. Armed Forces & Society, 42(2), 324-343.

Walker, H., Chicksand, D., Radnor, Z. and Watson, G. (2015). Theoretical perspectives in operations management: An analysis of the literature. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 35(8). 1182-1206.