NATIONAL BROADCAST BY THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL SECURITY, SENATOR THE HON. COL. TREVOR MACMILLAN


As we approach the Christmas season, I wish to advise you of the measures being taken to provide improved security for our people and increase the pressure on the criminals who are bent on destroying our society.
The upsurge in criminal violence
The upsurge in criminal violence, in particular the vicious attacks against women and children, have brought a deep sense of fear among Jamaicans from all walks of life.
I share the pain of every family that has been affected by the current wave of violence.
The brutal slayings and the complete disregard for human life we have witnessed bring us face to face with the ruthlessness of the criminals within our midst.
The enforcement of law and the apprehension and punishment of criminal perpetrators remain our most urgent task as a nation.
Even as we grieve and mourn for the loss of family members and loved ones, we must not surrender our country to terrorism and lawlessness. We will not allow the criminals to win this battle.
Each of us must seize every opportunity to work more effectively with the security forces in order to build an alliance of the law-abiding. In the final analysis, only this alliance can sustain the action required to dismantle organized criminal networks and make our communities safer. With your support, we can overcome what will be a long and hard fight against a ruthless enemy.
The policy framework
The Ministry of National Security has established the policy framework in which the security forces and the citizens can plan and implement the programmes and strategies required to win the fight against crime and to put in place the necessary resources.
Tonight, as we commit ourselves to the task ahead, it is important that we understand the nature of the problem we must overcome.
The current crime problem
The current crime problem did not start yesterday or last year. The problem has grown worse and larger over many years and has seen the increase of criminal networks which now threaten the fabric of our society.
200 known gang
To date, the security forces have identified over 200 known gangs in Jamaica of which one hundred and twenty (120) are active and dangerous. These gangs are believed to be responsible for eighty percent (80%) of all crimes.
A global criminal network
Today, these gangs are directly connected to a global criminal network which not only controls the trade in illicit drugs but the growing trade in human trafficking as well.
The enormous profits from these trades provide them with the wealth to bribe and corrupt their way and to finance their reign of terror on innocent, law-abiding citizens. The strength of the police force
In tackling this problem, we face many challenges. The strength of the police force is only eight thousand police men and women (8,000). This is thirty three percent (33%) below the required establishment figure, serving a population of some two point eight (2.8) million. This ratio of police to citizens is the lowest in the Caribbean.
The fact is that the human and material resources available to the police over much of the last four decades have limited their ability to respond to the continuous growth in criminal activity.
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