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The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), as part of efforts to stem the spiraling murder rate, will be allocating additional personnel and resources to the St. Catherine North, St. Catherine South, St. Andrew South and St. James police divisions.
Newly appointed Commissioner of Police Lucius Thomas, told reporters at a press conference held at the Police Officers Club today (Feb. 4), that the move was intended to stem the murder rate, which had alarmed the force and Jamaicans at home and abroad in 2004. He said that the four police divisions targeted for attention were identified as having the highest number of homicides last year.
Commissioner Thomas noted that even as additional equipment and improvements to physical plants were anticipated, the force would fast track aspects of its decentralization process, by making special allocations to strengthen the four divisions.
The move, he said, would see divisional commanders being held directly responsible for the implementation of initiatives to reduce the number of murders committed in their respective divisions and they would be tasked with increasing activities aimed at building community support to better target and arrest offenders. “We are moving swiftly to implement an approach, which gives priority to reducing the homicide rate in our island,” he stated.
Another aspect of the strategy, the Commissioner said, involved the stepping up of investigations by Operation Kingfish into major crimes and narcotics, as a high percentage of murders were directly connected to drugs, guns and gang related activities.
A fulltime attorney, with vast experience in prosecution, has been assigned to the taskforce, to provide legal guidance from the inception to the close of investigations. “We are going to produce airtight cases so that these culprits can be taken out of circulation by the book,” Commissioner Thomas declared.
Stating that, “the fight against organized crime, money laundering, drugs and guns calls for teamwork,” Commissioner Thomas said that Jamaica was in partnership with international security groups to dismantle the criminal network.
He informed that the international partners had made available, a number of highly trained investigators with special skills in case preparation, investigation strategies and witness management techniques and these experts worked with Jamaican security personnel to ensure that the targeted criminal networks were properly investigated.
“No effort will be spared in our attempts to dismantle these criminal networks, putting the culprits where they belong behind bars and ensure that they are kept there,” he stated.
In terms of capacity building, Commissioner Thomas mentioned collaboration with Scotland Yard to build and strengthen the investigative arm of the force and said that in the near future, personnel from the Criminal Investigation Branch would be receiving training in the island and abroad.
He also pointed out, that the United Kingdom-based Task International had completed the first phase of an emergency response training programme with special emphasis on anti-kidnapping strategies to combat the recent rise in the activity.
According to Commissioner Thomas, it is envisaged that the training would lead to greater control and management of crime and disorder, increase the level of professionalism within the force and enhance the relations between citizens and the men and women of the force.
The Commissioner was hosting his first press conference since succeeding former Commissioner Francis Forbes last January.