KINGSTON — Head of the Clarendon police, Senior Superintendent (SSP) Dathan Henry, has attributed a 52 percent drop in murders in the parish since 2011, to an anti-crime strategy which has dismantled more than a dozen criminal gangs.
"We have dismantled over a dozen dangerous gangs operating within the parish (and) we have totally degraded their capabilities, hence, we have seen a reduction in the murder figures," SSP Henry told the Annual Clarendon Police Awards Banquet on Sunday (November 6) in May Pen.
The SSP said that the police initiative, called the Gang Reduction and Prevention Education (GRAPE), tries to steer vulnerable youths away from crime.
"We target young men who are on the brink, or who have been involved in gang activities, and we want to encourage corporate Clarendon to come on board and support this programme. If we can prevent these youngsters from getting into crime, we will be able, for years to come, to further drive down the murder figures in the parish," he said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of Area 3, Derrick Cochrane, confirmed that the parish crime plan has worked, because the leadership in the area has been able to get full support in dismantling the criminal network.
"It is born on the back, too, of pure and unadulterated hard work by all the members of the Clarendon Division," he said.
He noted that major crimes in the parish have dropped by 23% and murder by some 52%, which is double the national average of some 24%, while imploring the police to continue the assault on crime.
"To our members who are retiring, your success and your input was integral to the success of Team Clarendon Division. You have left a platform for us to build on. Your contribution gives us strength and fortitude, as we continue to accept and stoutly defend this last line between this country descending into anarchy or remaining a peaceful and tranquil one," he said.
Top Criminal Investigator of the Year, Leonard Jennings, pointed out that his work is to seek out truth, to approach his job with an open mind and to get all the facts. He said he found pleasure in investigating crimes and that the award would motivate him to work harder.
"One of the greatest satisfaction that the victim of a crime gets, is to know that there is closure and the guilty person is brought before the court and get the maximum conviction," he said.
Commander of the Year, Woman Sergeant Sonia Campbell, noted that to be effective as a Commander, one needs skills in deploying limited resources to achieve results, as well as effective communications with staff and the community.
"I am very elated, and hopefully it (the award) will help me to move forward," she said. The Annual Police Appreciation Awards Banquet was organized by businessman, Anthony Smatt.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter