JIS News

National Security Minister, Senator Dwight Nelson, has announced plans to introduce Anti-Gang Legislation, as part of the Government’s efforts to curtail crime in Jamaica.
The Minister said the legislation, which the Ministry is seeking to pursue in collaboration with several key stakeholders, is intended to target, infiltrate and dismantle gangs, and identify and arrest all members.
In addition, he said that the legislation would seek to; impose longer sentences on gang members; minimize their ability to reorganize; provide a window of opportunity for law enforcement to refocus their community policing efforts to prevent other gangs from taking over the community; facilitate greater monitoring of documented gang members on bail; and deny documented gang members access to contracts from public and private sector entities.
“It is critical that the Anti-Gang legislation be fast tracked to deal with this overwhelming problem, and to be ready to go hand in hand with the Gang Reduction Strategy, currently being developed,” Senator Nelson said.
He said that he has already sensitized the Cabinet and held discussions with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, regarding the implementation of the Act.
The Minister was making his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on Friday (January 22).
He said that the preliminary findings of the 2009 Gang Threat Assessment Survey, undertaken by the Ministry and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), revealed that, as at July 2009, there were some 268 gangs operating in 16 of the JCF’s 19 policing divisions, islandwide.
He said that the data also showed that the urban policing divisions of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. James, Clarendon and St. Catherine accounted for 74 per cent of the total number of gangs reported. Further analysis showed that these divisions accounted for more than half the murders committed in 2009.
According to Senator Nelson, the survey showed that these gangs have approximately 3,832 members, and that 129 of them have been designated “moderately to highly organised.”
He said that most of the gangs operating in the rural areas originated from splinter groups, or were started as chapters of larger gangs from the KMA.
The Minister pointed out that some of the gangs are collaborating with significant criminal networks in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, to further their criminal operations in drugs, guns and other forms of organised criminal activity.
“It is now well established that these gangs have both the weaponry and financial resources to effectively challenge the security forces,” he stated.

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