JCF under fire as ‘119 nightmare experience’ sparks Twitter debate over emergency inefficiencies

As the emergency responder, what do you mean when you tell someone in distress you ‘can’t help’ them?

The Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) emergency 119 contact may have more fine-tuning ahead as one Twitter user expressed her disbelief speaking with an operator on Saturday night (July 25).

The woman, through her @sahkyle handle, said she called 119 to report a potential kidnapping she had witnessed but was interrupted as she attempted to file a report. The operator reportedly told her she ‘could not assist’.

“I called 119 to report a potential kidnapping I witnessed, with license plate information @JamaicaConstab. The operator stopped me and let me know that it makes no sense I report this to HER, I should call the nearest police station as she CANNOT assist me. Hello?!” @sahkyle tweeted.

The woman said she called twice, in hopes of getting through to another operator, however, the same responder answered, and as she tried giving more details of the potential crime, she was cut off…again.

“My 119 operator told me to call someone else. This must be a joke. @JamaicaConstab. I called twice in hopes to get someone else, but it was the same woman both times–and she was unhelpful. I’m still in shock,” she continued.

“AFTER I told her the license plate number, she stopped me rudely, and suggested I called a station because she can’t help with that one. WHAT U MEAN U CAN’T HELP?! I’m upset. @JamaicaConstab. She’s the only one answering 119 so clearly this is her shift. She’s needs to be GONE [sic],” @sahkyle added.

The JCF’s official Twitter account responded six hours later, expressing their regret at the situation, asking the woman to speak with them in their Direct Messages (DMs).

It is not clear if the report has been filed.

A section of the JCF’s emergency 119 control centre in Kingston. (Photo YouTube @JamaicaConstabularyForce)

Speaking with BUZZ on Sunday, the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) said that they were not aware of the incident and told our team to reach out to the JCF’s Twitter account for further feedback.

The incident has since sparked a flurry of other personal interactions with the 119 hotline, the island’s main emergency number, as Jamaican Twitter users pieced together a pattern of inefficiency in a time of need.

One woman, @MakedaMorrison, tweeted that she called 119 to seek help while she was being kidnapped and the operator’s alleged response stunned the timeline.

“I called 911 to report MY kidnapping the operator told me that what I needed was a taxi company. Mind you, I told her my EXACT location and asked to be transferred to the nearest police station. Apparently I wasn’t “distraught sounding” enough,” she wrote.

“Listen, I got robbed 2 years ago and I called 119 frantically and the woman told me to stop talking to her with attitude and I must go find the nearest station and report it in the morning…… anyway they didn’t help with anything,” another woman replied under @sahkyle’s distressing tweet.

As instructed, the BUZZ team was told by the JCF on Twitter that it is still gathering the necessary details from the woman and will comment momentarily.

“We are still gathering [information] and have so far reached out to her. Once we are in a position to make a comment, we will provide an update,” the JCF responded.