Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says since implementation of the State of Public Emergency (SOE) in St. James a year ago, more persons are reporting disputes and other acts of criminality to members of the security forces.
Speaking at a community meeting at the Apostolic Lighthouse Church in Norwood, St. James, on January 20, Dr. Chang said the negative informer culture has been reduced, as more citizens will speak freely to the security forces when they have problems.
Dr. Chang reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety of residents of St. James, after the expiration of the SOE on January 31.
He informed that a heavy security presence will be maintained in St. James in an effort to sustain a level of peace in the parish, adding that the Government will implement additional strategies to combat crime in western Jamaica.
“We have built some facility at the airport [Jamaica Defence Force barracks]. That’s the number-wo battalion of the Jamaica Defence Force, which used to be based at Up Park Camp in Kingston. They are now permanently based in Montego Bay, so we don’t have the cost of bringing them to and from Kingston…” he noted.
“We will also maintain a high level of police officers in the area and start the process this year of building our mobile west [barracks]. We are going to base a formation in Montego Hills, so that you have an adequate number of policemen,” the Minister said.
Dr. Chang also urged members of the security forces to treat citizens with respect and refrain from using excessive force in the execution of their duties.
“Members of the security forces must apply the law. If citizens are abused, we are open all the time to hear their complaints. We train them to treat citizens with respect. The same way we say you must respect your fellow citizen, the law must protect you and respect you. They don’t need to abuse you and if you are abused, report them,” he emphasised.