22 charged in Clarendon SOE

Thursday, September 12, 2019

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TWENTY-TWO people have been charged with various offences since Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared a state of public emergency (SOE) in the parish of Clarendon.

“We continue to maintain our presence in an effort to maintain public order and reduce violent incidents,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Dahlia Garrick, who heads the constabulary's Corporate Communication Unit, said, while adding that since the SOE there have not been any murders in the parish.

She also noted that 533 traffic tickets had been issued, an additional 33 people were processed and released, and one firearm and 16 rounds of ammunition were recovered.

The emergency security measure, which was also implemented in St Catherine last week, will initially be for 14 days, after which Parliamentary approval must be sought for an extension.

When the SOEs were declared last week, Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson said the high level of violent crime being experienced in the parishes of Clarendon and St Catherine since the start of the year “is at a scale and nature such that it greatly endangers public safety”, hence the reason for the SOE.

“The Clarendon Division has historically been one of the most violent regions in the country, with a number of gangs engaged in inter- and intra-gang conflicts or other criminal enterprise.

“Already, since the start of 2019, the Clarendon Division has recorded the second highest number of murders at 100, and the St Catherine South Police Division has seen an increase in murders of 50 per cent over last year's number to currently sit at 91 murders since the beginning of the year,” he said.

The commissioner also said that the objectives of the SOE are to establish and maintain a period of low violent crimes in the volatile communities within these parishes, to curtail the free movement of criminal gangs and weapons and deny them the opportunity to commit violent crimes, disrupt criminal enterprise, and to provide the opportunity for greater investigative focus on perpetrators of violent crimes and their facilitators.

“As we continue to advance strategies to reduce violent crime across all divisions, utilising the range of policing tools, especially a heavy emphasis on investigations and the use of technology, building better relationships with communities, as well as institutional capacity building activities, we must save the lives of our citizens and reduce the fear that families and communities feel when violence goes unchecked,” he said.

Just one day before the SOEs were declared, Anderson, at a Lions Club meeting, said that they will continue for as long as they are needed and the fact of the matter is that there was a significant reduction in crime in 2018 and he is working towards an even further reduction this year.

— Shanae Stewart


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