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Chief of Defence Staff assures that security forces will operate professionally in St Catherine

Sunday, March 18, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade, has given the assurance that members of the joint security forces undertaking enhanced security measures in the St Catherine North Police Division, will carry out their duties professionally and with integrity.

“We want to assure citizens that both the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) have been properly trained and oriented to give due regard to the human rights of all persons. Our exemplary record in the other areas in which enhanced security powers have been declared is positive proof that we do intend to continue maintaining the human rights of our citizens,” he said.

Meade was speaking at a press conference today at Jamaica House where Prime Minister Andrew Holness, declared a State of Public Emergency now in effect in the St Catherine North Police Division.

A joint JCF/ JDF team was deployed to the area on Sunday to undertake enhanced security measures for an initial 14 days, in accordance with the Emergency Powers Act.

Meanwhile, Meade is encouraging residents in the targeted communities to cooperate with the security forces in ensuring that law, order and public safety are maintained.

“As we pledge to carry out our operations with professionalism and respect, we are seeking the cooperation of the citizens to use the very popular JDF tip line 837-8888 to supply us with information about criminals and criminal activity,” he said.

The JDF chief emphasized that this is pivotal to the joint forces' intelligence and data gathering activities.

“We will be doing our part by publishing photos, bulletins, social media images and data about gang members and criminals to help persons identify these individuals and report them. The hotline is manned on a 24-hour basis and offers convenience and confidentiality and we anticipate that its success in St James will be replicated in St Catherine,” he said.

Meade also urged residents to acquaint themselves with the regulations and requirements governing the State of Public Emergency in order to easily and conveniently transit the area as they go about their lawful business.

The decision to declare the State of Public Emergency in the St Catherine North Police Division has become necessary in light of an escalation in crime and violence, particularly murders.

A total of 49 murders have been recorded in that region since the start of the year, due mainly to gang activity.

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