JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has outlined a raft of crime fighting strategies in a contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Tuesday (June 17). Mr. Golding said his contribution to the debate was being made in light of the fact that both the Minister and Minister of State for National Security are from the Upper House.
In his address, Mr. Golding said the response to crime and violence confronting the country would have to be addressed at the operational and transformational level and that both must proceed in parallel. He identified five operational strategies including the dismantling of criminal gangs, the transfer of the burden of fear from law-abiding citizens to criminals and, depriving criminals of the tools of their trade, particularly since 80 per cent of crimes were committed using a gun. He said the security forces would also target the objects of crime such as extortion and the drug trade, as well as endeavour to gain effective control of communities and the nation’s streets.
Other crime fighting strategies outlined by the Prime Minister included increased use of spot checks and curfews, more mobile patrols and greater visibility from the security force. He said the security force would also increase its community policing efforts and provide speedier and more effective response to emergency calls and to high risk institutions such as schools. He said the strategies would employ greater use of non-lethal devices.
In terms of resources, Mr. Golding said $400 Million has been earmarked to purchase new vehicles for the police force as the state of the current fleet was unsatisfactory. He said the Government was also pursuing the acquisition of specialized equipment to allow the police to do their jobs without putting their lives and those of other citizens at risk.
The transformational activities proposed by the Prime Minister, most of which will be the subject of further discussion, include bail restrictions, the use of majority verdict in non-capital murder cases and the removal of juvenile immunity in certain matters. He said protecting the rights of citizens remains the primary responsibility of Government and added that if the authority and powers of the police force are to be extended, the police would have to ensure that this was not abused.
Mr. Golding said the fight against crime would require hard policing as the scourge of violent crimes that has challenged the country for more than thirty years has accounted for 759 murders since the start of the year,. He said the country was in danger of reaching the 2005 level of over 1600 murders. He said it was increasingly difficult to fight crime when murders were no longer committed in the heat of a dispute, but had become vicious and calculated.
He said the police force had already intensified their activities in the Corporate Area and that this would be extended to other parishes such as St. Catherine, Clarendon and St. James.

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