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Westmoreland police launch initiative for public safety and order

Thursday, June 13, 2019

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — The Westmoreland Police have launched operation 'Sustainable Public Safety and Public Order' in a bid to curtail criminal activities in the parish, which is currently under a State of Public Emergency (SOE).

Commanding Officer for the Westmoreland Police Division, Superintendent Gary McKenzie, told JIS News that they are restructuring operational strategies and creating a sustainable framework for how security personnel will operate in the parish during and after the SOE.

He explained that the initiative, which was launched on May 25, will incorporate stakeholders, such as the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, the National Water Commission and other agencies, in a holistic partnership to establish a sustainable law-enforcement model.

“The public safety part is about the reduction in serious crimes like murder, shootings and rape, and we also include fatal accidents, because we have a challenge with that in the parish. That, of course, is fueled by the number of motorcycle accidents,” McKenzie said.

“Now the other part of it, which is the Public Order, is how we manage township, and in Westmoreland we have four townships. Savanna-la-Mar and Negril are the two major towns, but we also have Whitehouse and Darliston. Vendor management is a crucial part of it, and one of the things that we are doing is working with the Municipal Corporation to look at how vendor licences are issued,” he added.

McKenzie indicated that in the weeks since the launch of the initiative, the Westmoreland police have executed 19 warrants, issued 73 traffic tickets and removed nine vehicle registration plates.

In addition, he noted that security personnel and NWC representatives went to the Morgans Bridge area where 53 illegal connections were removed, including several from premises of criminal suspects and wanted men.

“We will be working with other agencies and give them full support all the time, because what we aim to do is to build a lawful community. The police, along with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and other agencies, based on the support it has received through the SOE, is intent on working with everybody within Westmoreland to bring the parish to a place of normalcy,” he said.

The SOE was declared in Westmoreland, as well as St James and Hanover, on Tuesday, April 30.

McKenzie said that since that time, Westmoreland has experienced a significant drop in serious crimes, including murders and shootings. He explained that four murders have been recorded in the parish since the SOE, as opposed to 43 before the SOE.

Additionally, he said five firearms have been recovered, 103 motorcycles seized, and several alleged lottery scammers have been apprehended.

“The Easter term of the Westmoreland Circuit Court commenced and we have some 60 murder cases that are before the court. That shows that we have been doing quite a bit of work in terms of our investigation,” said McKenzie.

“We are targeting the wanted men, the persons of interest, criminal suspects and we are doing a lot of displacement raids. We want to get the parish to a place of normalcy and really potent economic and social development. So, we appeal to the public to work with us and give us the information,” he added.

— JIS


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