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Work will continue to strengthen the crime-fighting capacity of the police, as part of efforts to reduce violence and restore peace and public order.

“Your Government is making every effort to ensure that the human and technological resources are made available to the brave men and women of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to overcome this cancer of violence, especially in [Westmoreland, St. James and St. Catherine],” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, at a virtual press conference on January 16, where Prime Minister, the Most

Hon. Andrew Holness, declared a Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) for southern Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland.

Dr. Chang informed that statistics indicate that homicides are moving ahead of 2021 in significant numbers, noting that three parishes and four divisions account for this uptick – St James, Westmoreland and St. Catherine (North and South divisions).

The Minister pointed out that Westmoreland had the highest increase in 2021 over 2020.

“They have shown an increased propensity for severe violence, designed to kill, maim, and instil fear,” he said.

Dr. Chang noted that the Jamaica Constabulary Force is taking decisive action to not only curb the rise but restore order and public safety.

“Curfews, cordons, additional officers to the geographic divisions, and specialised units to apprehend perpetrators, have been sent to Westmoreland. There has been some success but more is required,” he shared.

He said the declaration of a Zone of Special Operation is yet another tool to focus on the most violent districts in the urban centre in Westmoreland.

“It will not only restore order in the limited geographical area; it is designed to disrupt the gangsters who operate from this area,” the Minister said.

Dr. Chang noted that the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force, with the support of the entire government, are moving aggressively to attack the criminal elements on all fronts.

“We will examine what other law-enforcement tools can be brought to bear on this issue… and how existing tools can be combined with the Zone of Special Operations to reduce violence, and restore peace and public order,” he said.

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