Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, has announced that the newly constructed Malvern police station, in St. Elizabeth, will be officially opened and occupied within the next two weeks.
The station was destroyed in 2007 by Hurricane Dean, forcing police personnel to use a one-room facility that was once used for petty session court cases.
Minister Bunting said due to the construction method utilised, the new facility has come at reduced cost, and with only electricity left to be connected, the general public and officers will soon be able to utilize the station.
“The new Malvern station is quite an interesting model, a prefabricated building that we were able to erect quickly and for a substantially reduced cost, if we had gone for the traditional method,” he told reporters on Friday, March 30, while on a tour of police stations in Manchester and St. Elizabeth.
Disclosing that a new lock up will be built at the Santa Cruz police station, to house some 200 inmates, the Minister said it will ease the overcrowding in the police’s Area Three division. Also to be built is a new station in Newport Manchester, with a capacity for 50 inmates, and a new station in Lacovia.
“At Newport, we may have to build it in two phases, we are going to start by putting in the remand facility on the ground floor, and then the second phase will be to put up the guard room. The burning need is for additional remand space,” the Minister said.
He also disclosed that a project will take effect shortly to rid police stations of abandoned and derelict motor vehicles, as many of them are unsightly for the professional image that the facilities need to maintain. “We will give notice by way of an ad in the media so that persons will have an opportunity to come and collect their vehicles, but if that doesn’t happen, we will have to dispose of them,” he said.
With the murder figures showing a downward trend for the month of March, over recent months, Minister Bunting said while more can be done for further reduction in the murder rate and other crimes, the renewed efforts of the Ministry and the security forces are taking positive effect.
“We have had extra deployment, particularly in the troublesome police divisions, in St. Catherine North, that is having a positive impact. Nationally, the police are making an extra effort to respond to that spike we had in the first half of the year. Also, the Ministry has been running a series of ads in the media, an anti gang campaign. We don’t want them (criminals) to have the support of the community, we want to expose them for what they are. All of these efforts are starting to bear fruit,” he stated.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter