JIS News

Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips said yesterday(January 28), that the Ministry, the Police High Command and the St. Catherine Parish Council would meet on February 3 to develop a crime prevention plan for Spanish Town and adjacent communities in St. Catherine, in light of the recent unrest in the areas.
Speaking at the official opening of the new $17 million National Stadium Police Station at Independence Park, Minister Phillips said the decision came following a meeting with the Chief of Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Police Commissioner, at which the “problem of Spanish Town” was fully discussed. He said there were long term, short term and medium term issues which would have to be addressed in dealing with the situation.
“In the immediate term, the Police along with the JDF have stepped up action in the Spanish Town area to return general confidence to the community and to curtail the movement of criminals, and to identify, search out and arrest or otherwise bring to justice the perpetrators of the mayhem,” Dr. Phillips said.
“For the medium term, as we will be doing in other parishes and other main town centres, the entire civic community along with the Police High Command, will have to be mobilized to develop specific crime prevention measures, aimed not only at maintaining order but at rebuilding trust and restoring hope and co-operation among the different elements of the community, including the security forces and various arms of government,” he added.
The Minister noted that the Spanish Town situation had its own complexities, rooted in the fact that the city had a very dense and complex physical environment and that there were widely disbursed criminal groups having links with each other, but undertaking independent criminal actions.
“There is an imminent danger that we face, as a country, from hardened and organized criminal groupings that will have to be dealt with, with the full force of law and with the full force of the national resolve that we can muster as a country,” he emphasized.
“We cannot and we will not accept that criminals armed with dangerous weapons should be free to roam and create mayhem in our communities, holding hard working and innocent Jamaicans to ransom,” the Minister declared.
Dr. Phillips said criminals must know that despite the intimidation and the senseless killings, the security forces would not yield and that they intended to restore law, order and decency in the communities, “no matter how long it takes and no matter what resources will have to be devoted”.
“Equally, we must urge citizens to make the resolve to assist the security forces. It is your community and livelihood that these elements threaten. Many of you in these areas know who the criminals are. Don’t allow them refuge. Use the available and confidential channels to assist the police. They cannot serve you unless you assist them more effectively,” the Minister stressed.
Dr. Phillips said that indeed, it was time for the entire society to unite against “this ugly breed of new criminality that seeks to centralize the direction of criminal activity across communities in order to advance an agenda of greed, violence and crime”.
Meanwhile, he charged the officers to take care of the new station and to ensure that it was properly maintained, as it had been built “at great cost to the people of Jamaica”.
Dr. Phillips expressed the hope that the people of the communities to be served by the station, would always see it as a welcoming environment.
“The station has a critical public order function in relation to sporting events, many of which are international events. Equally, the station has the responsibility to serve the people of the adjoining communities and the principle of community policing represents the underpinning of the approach to policing that is adopted by the Jamaica Constabulary Force. I hope that always, decent law abiding citizens can feel that this is a place where they can visit and feel comfortable, safe and protected,” the Minister said.

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