JIS News

Commissioner of Police, Lucius Thomas, became the first international partner to meet with the new Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) today (April 4). The SOCA was launched in London by British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on Monday, April 3.
Commissioner Thomas, who visited the United Kingdom (UK) and addressed the first conference of the Jamaican Diaspora on April 1, met with the Director General William Hughes and the Deputy Director General (International), Rob Wainwright. He was assured of the agency’s continued support of Jamaica’s crime fighting efforts.
“It was very important that I visited the headquarters of SOCA. The Deputy Director, Rob Wainwright visited Jamaica earlier this year and he briefed me as to what SOCA is all about and its three priority areas – human trafficking, fraud and drugs. In Jamaica we know that whatever is affecting the UK affects us in Jamaica as well,” he told JIS News in an interview.
Commissioner Thomas said that the UK has been a very good partner to Jamaica in the fight against organized crime and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has worked with various British agencies, including Customs and the Metropolitan Police. He said many of these agencies are now under one umbrella with SOCA, and the meeting enabled him to discuss what help Jamaica could expect from the new super crime-fighting agency.
“I was assured by the Director General that Jamaica will continue to benefit in a significant way because of the significance of the partnership between Jamaica and the United Kingdom. And so we welcome SOCA and I welcome the discussions with the Director General and his assistant. They have committed their continued support for Jamaica in the fight against organised crime,” Commissioner Thomas told JIS News.
He said that another area of benefit to Jamaica would come when SOCA established its training Academy.”I am looking forward to the setting of the Academy, where we can send our own police officers, so they can be trained in forensics and intelligence analysis and other areas,” he added.
The SOCA will bring together more than 4,000 British police, customs and immigration experts.
At the Diaspora Conference, Mr. Thomas said although there has been a reduction in the number of murders in the island over the past three months, there was still a lot to be done.
“There has been a 29 per cent reduction or 120 fewer murders for the first three months of the year. We have seen a downward trend, but we still have a lot of work to do to reduce the homicide rate even lower,” he told the conference, adding that a Murder Reduction Plan was in place as well as Operation Kingfish.
He outlined the major challenges facing the JCF as it sought to maintain law and order. These included organised crime, the trafficking of guns and drugs, gangs and the ‘Don’ culture, reprisal killings, and corruption.

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