A panel of senior Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) officers have called on Jamaicans in the Diaspora to work with the JCF to fight crime. The team of three, which included Deputy Commissioner, Charles Scarlett of the Intelligence Unit, Assistant Commissioner Glenmore Hinds of Operation Kingfish and Inspector V. C. Campbell of the Narcotics Unit were speaking at a recent community forum in Miami.
The officers also used the opportunity to outline measures already in place to eradicate crime and violence in the country. Speaking to some 200 persons at the Holy Family Episcopal Church in North Miami, Deputy Commissioner Charles said citizens must be prepared to give the support, intelligence and information, which would help the police to function effectively. The panelists assured the audience of confidence and trust in reiterating their call for alliances with Jamaican nationals in overseas communities, as they noted, some of crimes were organized from abroad. While there was concern that young people under the age of 30 committed the majority of crimes and acts of violence, the panelists said that there were discussions to find productive means to socialize the young people to contribute positively to the nation’s development.
Meanwhile, some 455 youth clubs are now functioning in local communities throughout the island while a Safe Schools’ Programme was implemented to allow the youth and the police to engage interactively in various productive programmes. In this regard, resource officers have been assigned to work with students at several schools islandwide. On the issue of corruption in the Force, it was reported that some 60 officers have been removed from active duty, in an effort to eliminate such practices, through the establishment of a Professional Standards Branch (PSB) last year.In addition, under the anti corruption policy along with the PSB, incidents of corruption among police personnel will be investigated and dealt with in an effort to enhance accountability and ensure acceptable standards.
The panelists pointed to a four per cent reduction in total major crimes as the JCF continued its efforts to reduce crime. Some 692 illegal firearms were recovered last year, while a number of major gangs were dismantled under Operation Kingfish. Under this Operation, Assistant Commissioner Hinds assured, local law enforcement agencies were working in partnership with international counterparts from the United Kingdom, the USA and Canada in the areas of intelligence, operation and investigation.
According to Assistant Commissioner Hinds, a recent comparative analysis had identified significant impact in the reduction in some major crime prone communities. For example, in St. Catherine North statistics for the period November 1 to December 31 2005, revealed that murder and shooting had shown nearly 46 and 54 per cent reduction when compared with the corresponding period in 2004.
In seeking to cripple the illegal drug trade, Detective Campbell spoke of the significant reduction in the narcotics activities as teams of local and international law enforcement agencies have been working to seize large shipments of narcotics within and outside of the island’s territorial waters. He also mentioned the destruction of local marijuana nurseries, the disabling of illegal airstrips and the confiscation of boats.
According to Detective Campbell, the arrests of major drug dons have also contributed to the reduction in drug related transshipment activities.
He spoke of concerted efforts to continue to secure borders to deter lawbreakers from finding ingenuous means of getting contraband into the island.
In outlining some of the initiatives to enhance investigative capabilities in the Force, the panelists mentioned efforts to increase personnel to 10,000 by 2007. They also informed that upgrading and enhancing surveillance and forensic equipment had been sourced to effectively facilitate and restore information and create new legislation.
Commending the recently appointed Commissioner of Police, Lucius Thomas, for his efforts to build morale and motivate officers of the JCF, they assured the audience that relentless efforts were being made to encourage and rebuild trust and confidence and interaction with communities throughout the island.
Also addressing the audience were Jamaica’s Consul General, Ricardo Allicock and Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board member to the Southeast USA, Dahlia Walker-Huntington, who both encouraged unity in helping the police in its efforts to eradicate crime.
The event was jointly hosted by the members of the Florida chapter of the Jamaica Ex-Police Association and the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation.