The Full Story
A joint anti-gang task force consisting of members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has been launched.
Details of the task force were provided by Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson and Chief of Defence Staff, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss-Gorman, during a press conference at the Joint Information Operation Communication Centre in St. Andrew, on February 11.
Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, said the task force, which has been operational for a week, is proving to be effective.
“Over that week, we seized seven illegal firearms, and 1,200 pounds of compressed ganja. We have disrupted an illegal alcohol operation that was funding a particular gang and we have arrested four persons for lottery scamming and another 16 of them to make a total of 20 persons who are involved in violence and crime,” he informed.
The Commissioner explained that the task force will focus on ridding the country of illegal guns as well as dismantling gangs and their criminal networks.
“It is not bound by any particular geographic space, but we will move fluidly across the country to interrupt gang activities, to disrupt and deter those, to recover firearms or seize firearms and also to focus on those people who are intent on creating death, mayhem and pain in our society,” he said.
Major General Anderson disclosed that the task force has been working across agencies of the Force to execute the operations, as well as building response capacity.
“We worked with the lottery scam task force, CTOC, territorial police [that is] the police in the various divisions and areas, and it gives them far more capacity when they need it to deal with situations that can become or are highly violent,” he said.
He informed that the task force includes a highly trained cadre of individuals, both from the JCF and the JDF.
The Commissioner explained that the formation of the task force is part of the ongoing transformation and modernisation efforts to address the crime and violence in the country.
“We are determined that the Jamaican people are going to be safe. We are going to take back these guns that are out there. We are going to put a large dent in this firearms business in Jamaica. Ninety-one per cent of our deaths and murders this year have been done with an illegal firearm and we are determined that we will recover these or seize them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rear Admiral Wemyss-Gorman said the task force will bring focused attention to gangs perpetrating violent crimes across the island.
“The JDF will bring dynamic and flexible military expertise to this task force, ensuring joint intelligence and the securing of the spaces in which we engage. This will allow the JCF to focus on the pursuit of gangs and the apprehension of their members who terrorise communities,” she said.
She noted that the JDF’s assessment indicates that the youth are featured prominently in the expansion of gangs and gang activities in communities.
“This is why we are seeking to strengthen our own youth engagement efforts to provide an alternative and positive action path in society for youth, to prevent them from being pulled into gangs,” she said.
Rear Admiral Wemyss-Gorman informed that the military personnel in the task force have been specifically selected to work with the JCF team, noting that they are trained in human rights and are familiar with the rules of engagement.
“We will ensure that the rights of each citizen is respected whilst these operations are being conducted; however, if faced with a threat, the appropriate actions will be taken to defend themselves,” she said.
Rear Admiral Wemyss-Gorman and Major General Anderson urged Jamaicans to work with the anti-gang task force and assist in creating a safer Jamaica.