JIS News

Commissioner of Police, Lucius Thomas yesterday (Jan. 31) unveiled an eight-point action plan designed to reduce the country’s murder rate by five per cent by the end of the calendar year.
The Commissioner, who spoke to journalists at a press conference held at the Police Officers Club on Hope Road, explained that the murder reduction plan was devised following discussions with the police high command and key officers on the ground. Deputy Commissioner Mark Shields has been assigned overall coordinating responsibility for the plan.
Detailing elements of the strategy, he said that a Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) “crime hot spot secretariat” would be established to improve the management and analysis of information about serious crimes and ensure the deployment of police where they are most needed, to reduce murder and the fear of crime.
A Major Investigation Taskforce (MIT) is also to be established in Kingston and St. Andrew, to improve the JCF’s investigation of murders, shootings and other serious crimes. “This is of particular significance,” Commissioner Thomas emphasised, “because it is well known that the majority of murders in Jamaica are committed over specific geographic areas of Kingston and St. Andrew. The MIT will be targeting these areas and will utilise a task force approach similar to Kingfish to coordinate its activities.”
The newly appointed Assistant Commissioner of Police, Les Green, “will be the driving force behind the functioning of the MIT”, he added.
He pointed out that the MIT was intended to function as “a one-stop response to all shootings and homicides by implementing a new, all-inclusive investigation and scene of crime response to deliver a more effective prosecutions process to reduce delays and bring offenders to justice.”
Other elements of the murder reduction plan include improving the quality of investigations for murder and shootings so as to provide an effective review system across the country; improving the ways in which the JCF manages criminal intelligence by enhancing the role of the National Intelligence Bureau and divisional intelligence units; improving the JCF’s relationships with other partners in providing effective and coordinated social intervention in areas affected by high levels of crime and violence; and working with partners in the criminal justice system to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the process of criminal justice.
The plan will also seek to improve the use of forensic science in criminal investigation through the introduction of new policies, technologies and procedures.
Commissioner Thomas pointed to the IBIS ballistic machine, which was now in the island and being tested, as an example of forensic science being used to upgrade the JCF’s policing abilities.
Furthermore, he revealed that a digital fingerprinting system was to be put in place and four police personnel were in France receiving training to effectively operate the new system.
According to the Commissioner, the last objective of Force’s action plan was to improve the capacity of investigators through training and development.