JIS News

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Owen Ellington, has said that law enforcement agencies will have to employ new strategies and policy initiatives in order to effectively tackle organised crime in Jamaica.
“If we (security forces) are going to be successful at dealing with group crimes, we are going to have to look at expanding conspiracy theories. We are going to have to consider the use of mechanisms such as plea bargaining, we are going to have to look at greater use of asset forfeiture legislation, such as the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA),” he stated.
He was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday (October 7), during a break in a two-day seminar on organised crime in Jamaica, held at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston. The conference was held to discuss some of the issues arising out of the deliberations.
DCP Ellington argued that because of the capacity and size of criminal groups and the complexity in dealing with group crimes “we are finding that traditional law enforcement measures are proving to be inadequate, and that is why whenever we discuss combating organised crime, we tend to suggest a re-thinking of strategy, enabling ourselves to deal more effectively with group crimes, rather than dealing with single individuals.”
Organised crime, he explained, is the coming together of several persons with the aim of building capacity and resilience in order to commit criminal activities.
He said that based on assessments done on organised crime in Jamaica, these groups are mostly motivated by greed, and are often comprised of persons going after money to acquire wealth to finance extravagant lifestyles.
He pointed out that the seminar, which was hosted by the Ministries of National Security and Justice, in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Commission to Jamaica, was “very helpful to us,” as the discussions included an exploration of the strategies used in Italy to deal with organised crime.
At the event, high-ranking representatives of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and both Ministries, heard the experience of Special Prosecutor Fausto Zuccarelli, of the Italian Anti-Mafia Affairs Office.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police noted that in looking at how criminal groups have evolved in Jamaica, and the similarities with Italy, “we are at an advantage in the sense that we do not have to go and re-invent the wheel. There are so many good lessons that we can draw on, and there are so many things that are doable and can give us success in the shortest possible time.”
“We are committed not just to the sharing of information and experience, but we are also committed to a deep re-thinking of the strategies that we are employing in Jamaica today with organised crime and we are counting on the support and understanding of the broader national community as the law enforcement agencies in Jamaica take on the fight against organised criminal activities,” the DCP added.
As it relates to the transnational nature of criminality, and the fact that organised groups are involved in transnational crimes, he contended that the security forces need to strengthen their co-operation with external partners. “That involves transnational investigations and it also involves upgrading our law enforcement and judicial structures within the country, so that we can participate in transnational law enforcement,” he said.
Turning to the problem of illegal guns coming into the island, he assured that local law enforcement is committed to stopping the flow of guns into Jamaica.
“We have dedicated a tremendous amount of assets on our ports, on our waters and we have very strong co-operation with our external partners to identify and track intended shipments to Jamaica. In addition to those efforts at interrupting the flow, we also have co-operation on investigations from sources of origin as well,” DCP Ellington said.
He noted that there is an “insatiable demand” for guns in Jamaica and that this demand usually arises when there is an explosion of organised criminal groups within a domestic space. He added that because criminal groups tend to embrace the use of violence as a first or second resort to settling disputes, this leads to a constant demand for guns.
“So, dealing with gun supply is a part of the solution, but also, it must involve the kind of effective law enforcement that will dissuade members of our population from getting involved in criminal gangs,” he said.
The seminar was held October 6 to 7, and focussed on critical topics such as: The Emergence and Evolution of Organised Crime; the Legislative Framework for Prosecuting Organised Crime; Characteristics of Organised Crime; Financial Crimes and Initiatives to Remove the Profit from Organised Crime; Law Enforcement Techniques; and Specialised Crime Fighting Mechanisms.
It also featured presentations from some of Jamaica’s high-ranking crime fighters and legislators.

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