Jamaicans And Visitors Enjoying Tranquility In Resort Areas


Tourist harassment, illicit vending and soliciting and other related offences common to Gloucester Avenue and other streets frequented by tourists across Montego Bay, have seen a record 85 per cent decline, with the deployment of 40 more Police Resort Patrol personnel to the area some three months ago.
The presence of the 69 Resort Foot Patrol officers on the streets 24 hours per day and seven days per week, have made these areas safer for visitors and citizens alike, and have attracted warm approval and commendation from a host of hoteliers and businessmen, especially those who do business along Gloucester Avenue, the famous ‘Hip Strip’.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Karina Hood, who is responsible for the Resort Patrol Unit, tells JIS News that the anticipated positive tourist season this year, which is expected to result in an influx of visitors in the resort towns, demanded plans for an increase in police presence.
“In November last year, some 100 police personnel who had just graduated from training school and participated in a week of specialized Team Jamaica training, which was offered by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo.), were deployed to boost the existing number of police personnel policing the tourism and commerce sections of Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril. With the number of visitors that were expected, the organization thought it fit to put in proactive measures by increasing numbers on the ground. We believe this would act as a deterrent and minimize the number of problems that would normally arise,” ASP Hood explains.
She says that the Resort Patrols have brought a welcome change to the tourism sector, noting that “based on the feedback from persons in the sector, the police are out there working well”.
Inspector Lloyd Bailey, who supervises the Montego Bay Resort Patrol, endorses its successes and effectiveness in curtailing the incidence of tourist harassment and related offences.
“Up to the time of us taking over patrolling these areas in Montego Bay, we have been very effective and even breaches of the Road Traffic Act have been dealt with. We have issued over 700 tickets in respect to these breaches, and made over 30 arrests for offensive weapons, indecent language, assaulting police and resisting arrest, all arising from the harassment of tourists,” Inspector Bailey points out.
He observes that because the police have the power of arrest, they could deal swiftly and decisively with traffic offences, possession of drugs, wounding and other serious offences that the resort people had no power or jurisdiction over.
In an interview with the Resort Patrol police, many tell JIS that they are committed to the task of making the streets safer for all persons including visitors to the country.
Woman Constable Natalee Wallace says that since she has been assigned to Montego Bay, she has experienced very few serious incidents.
“We are out on the streets every day of the week and can safely say that the would-be offenders stay away. The days have been relatively quiet and crime free and we are just continuing to make our presence felt,” she states.

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