Police vow to improve murder clear-up rate

BY INGRID BROWN Associate editor special assignment browni@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

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DEPUTY Commissioner of Police in charge of crime, Carl Williams, says the police will be embarking on a number of initiatives to assist in the solving of murders across the island.

Williams would, however not say what these measures are, but insisted they will result in a significant increase of the clear-up rate for these crimes.

"These are trade secrets that we won't want to tell the public; but I want you to be confident that it is an area that is receiving a lot of attention and we are pretty sure that in the years to come we will see a significant increase in this particular area," Williams said.

The deputy commissioner of police, who was addressing reporters and editors at the weekly Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper's head offices in Kingston, also disputed recent reports that only 29 per cent of the 1,056 murders documented in the Jamaica Constabulary Force Serious Crimes Review as having been committed in the island up to November 16 this year were cleared up.

On Monday, Williams insisted that the figures do not reconcile with what the police currently have.

"Clear-up rate of murders are a little below 50 per cent right now, but my mission is to ensure that we get it above 50 per cent for murders, so we may ensure that a person is less likely to get away with murder than to be out there walking free to commit other murders," Williams said.

Noting that the clear-up of crimes is the clearest measure of effectiveness of investigators or detectives, Williams -- in clarifying what is meant by the term -- noted that in some countries a crime is cleared up when the police identify the suspect. However, this is different for Jamaica as Williams explained that clearing-up of a crime not only occurs when the suspect is identified but when he/she is arrested and charged following a process of investigation.

"A crime may also be cleared up if the person responsible for the crime is unavailable for arrest and prosecution by virtue of the fact that he is dead or in custody in another jurisdiction," Williams further explained.

Williams reported that at a recently-held meeting, the issue of what is meant by clear-up of crime was discussed at length.

"We are going to ensure that everyone in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has a common understanding of what it means when a crime is cleared up so we can educate the public and also we will be putting certain strategies in place to ensure that we improve the clear-up rates," he said.

Meanwhile, he reported that the recently established Operation Resilience has been very successful in the fight against crime.

"We have been able to correlate a reduction in murders and shootings since the start of Operation Resilience with the actual operations themselves," Williams said.

According to the senior policeman, the police have seized the largest number of guns in any one month since the start of Operation Resilience.

"Even the 70-plus firearms which were seized in the Tivoli Gardens operations were outstripped by the number of weapons that were seized since the start of Operation Resilience, during the month of October," he said.

Operation Resilience, he reiterated, has been a tremendous success for the JCF and points in the direction necessary to deal with gang and gang-related problems.

In the meantime, Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake informed the Exchange that despite the challenging economic times, all is being done to ensure that the police have the necessary resources to aid in this fight against crime.

"I am satisfied that a lot of effort has been made to provide us with additional resources," he said, adding that the JCF received some 35 vehicles which were distributed to the most needy stations with a promise that another 70 vehicles will soon be made available to the law enforcers.

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