Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, says the government is moving to strengthen legislation, which will keep lawbreakers off the streets.
He said for the police to have a tight rein on crime and criminal activities in Jamaica, people, who break the law, must be locked away and denied their freedom.
“As long as criminals have the freedom to move about and to operate, and as long as they are benefitting financially from the crimes that they commit, they are not going to stop. The only way to stop these individuals is to deny their freedom of movement and freedom of action,” the Commissioner stated,
He was responding to a question on bail for accused criminals at a forum on national security staged by the Montego Bay business community on May 15, at the Ritz Carlton Golf and Spa Resort in Montego Bay.
According to the Police Commissioner, in Jamaica, persons involved in the lotto scam, for example, are taking advantage of the weaknesses in the law to carry out their acts.
“Here, they do not go to prison for these crimes and they are granted bail as soon as they appear in court. They are charged fines which are insignificant when compared to the amount of money that they earn from these criminal activities and are, therefore, exploiting the weaknesses in the laws of the country,” he pointed out.
Among the laws being worked on is Anti-gang Legislation, which would empower law enforcement officers to break up criminal gangs.
“As of right now, in Jamaica, it is not a crime to be a member of a gang. It is not a crime to be a gang leader; it is not a crime to share in the benefits of the proceeds of criminal activities carried out by these gangs. If we get this legislation, it would give the police the power to prosecute individuals, who recruit gang members and prosecute individuals, who lead gangs and who conceal goods, equipment or resources acquired from criminal activities … I think that this would make a significant difference as the police seek to spread the penalties across the criminal groups,” he stated.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter