Police shake-up

High command announces sweeping changes as most major crimes inch above last year's

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

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The police high command has announced changes in the leadership of some of its divisions as the latest crime statistics show that the 28 murders last week pushed the total above the figure for the corresponding period last year.

This erased all the gains that were achieved with the introduction of the state of emergency in three western parishes and the continuation of zones of special operations in two communities.

Preliminary police data show that up to last Saturday, there were 675 murders across the island since the start of this year; four more than the 671 recorded over the same period last year.

Other serious and violent crimes — shooting, and aggravated assault — are also up when compared to last year. Rape is the only exception, running below the 2018 figure.

There have been 660 reported cases of shooting so far this year, 11 per cent above 2018; while the 183 cases of aggravated assault so far for 2019 are a tick above the 182 cases recorded over the corresponding period last year. The police also recorded 257 rape cases in the first six months of this year, a shade below the 263 up to June 29, 2018.

Eleven of the 19 police divisions have so far reported more murders than last year, with a 100 per cent spike in the Kingston Central Police Division (16 up from 8) and a 90 per cent increase in Manchester (19 up from 10).

Divisions with the largest decline in murders are St Mary — 43 per cent; St Catherine South (which includes Portmore) — 41 per cent; and Hanover, 40 per cent.

Hours after the latest crime figures reached the Jamaica Observer, the police high command announced that several of its divisions will be headed by new commanders following the reassignment and transfer of eight of its gazetted officers.

Among the changes is that assistant commissioners Calvin Allen and Gary Welsh are to trade places, making Welsh the new head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, while Allen will take up command of the Operations Branch.

In Clarendon, Senior Superintendent SSP Vendolyn Cameron-Powell is to be replaced by Glenford Miller, who is now at the helm of the St Andrew North Division.

Cameron-Powell will leave Clarendon — where 70 murders have been recorded so far this year, down from 76 in the corresponding period last year — for the Services Branch. Miller leaves St Andrew North, which has so far seen two more murders than the 25 recorded last year.

In the meantime, Superintendent Samuel Morgan will leave the Services Branch and take over from Superintendent Catherine Lord as commanding officer for St Elizabeth where 13 murders have been recorded so far this year, compared to 10 up to June 29 last year.

Lord's new assignment will see her serving at the Inspectorate of the Constabulary.

The other changes see Superintendent Leonardo Brown moving from the Services Branch to the newly formed Technology Branch, while the St Andrew North Division will have Superintendent Leighton Gray as head.

The reassignment and transfers will take effect July 15, 2019.


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