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JIS News

Commissioner of Police, Lucius Thomas is encouraging citizens to play their part in helping to rid the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) of corrupt members by reporting incidence of police corruption.
According to Mr. Thomas, one of the problems in dealing with corrupt members had to do with the inability of the Commissioner to terminate the services of members of the Force after evidence proves violations and due process has been followed. He is therefore, lobbying to be given the authority to dismiss corrupt members.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner is projecting a seven per cent reduction in crime for 2007. This follows the 20 per cent reduction in murder and shootings in 2006.
Mr. Thomas said that to achieve this reduction, no new crime plan would be introduced, but a further tightening up of last year’s success strategies would be undertaken.
“To combat crime in 2007 we have sought to fine-tune and accelerate our investigative, intelligence and community policing approaches to better suit the situation we now face. we are building on and improving the systems and initiatives which brought us success last year along with using the resources at our command more effectively to reduce crime,” he reiterated.
Beefing up activities would include the deployment of additional law enforcement officers to the nation’s roadways and as such, he noted that Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Linval Bailey has been mandated to lead this charge.
He said the approach would be to take better control of the roads, which inevitably meant disrupting the movement of criminals from one parish to the next and crippling the ability of criminals to commit crimes. Additionally, he informed that taking control of the nation’s roadways meant more than just conducting speed checks and inspection of motor vehicle documents, although these were important elements of road policing.
Turning to the 2006 statistics, Commissioner Thomas revealed that some 44,000 spot checks were conducted, which resulted in the checking of nearly one million individuals and vehicles. Of this total, he said that approximately 18,000 persons have been arrested.
With the increased police presence expected on the streets, the Commissioner used the opportunity to appeal to motorists not to signal fellow motorists that the police were on the streets, by flashing their headlights.
“I am appealing to all law-abiding motorists to desist from signaling other motorists with your headlights, warning them that the police are on the roads. Unwittingly, you may also be aiding and abetting persons with criminal intent,” he said, adding that criminals were the main beneficiaries from this action.
A major concern for the Commissioner is the shortage of relevant equipment for the law enforcers, chief of which are motor vehicles. According to Mr. Thomas, the Force is “chronically short of motor vehicles, both in terms of numbers and the condition of the present [10 year-old fleet]”. To further assist in meeting the seven per cent target, Mr. Thomas noted that the Police High Command has already instructed that policemen and women to improve their shooting skills through continuous training and in order to facilitate the requisite training, three ranges will be constructed across the island.