Senior cop satisfied with Port Antonio break-ins probe

Senior cop satisfied with Port Antonio break-ins probe

Senior staff reporter

Sunday, September 27, 2020

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Commanding officer of the Portland Police Division, Superintendent Duane Wellington, has expressed satisfaction with the process of investigations into a spate of break-ins that businesses in Port Antonio have experienced in the past four months.

Last week the Sunday Observer reported that business owners in Port Antonio were bemoaning the spate of robberies,which they said had increased since the curfews were imposed four moths ago.

In addition, the Port Antonio business community said they were disappointed in the way the Jamaica Constabulary Force had responded to six robberies, describing it as slow-paced and seemingly uncaring.

But Supt Wellington sought to clarify the claims by first explaining that over the past four months Port Antonio saw seven break-ins and one robbery.

The division commander added that the opposite obtains, as investigations have led to arrests.

“One man was charged for the robbery and is before the court. Generally speaking, the business places are the targets. Of these seven break-ins we have recovered items that were stolen in the process and persons have been arrested — one person arrested in the robbery and one in the break-in. The culprits have entered these establishments through the roof, shutter and windows. In one of these cases, the police detected the crime and alerted the owner who lives upstairs. All the cases the police visited the scene and did the necessary processing. In one particular matter, the police did a review of the quality control purposes. A senior investigating officer led a team back to that location and did a follow-up. I am satisfied that the process of these investigations are going well and we have notice a trend with break-ins and it is of concern to management at the Portland Division,” Supt Wellington said.

Further, Superintendent said the management team of the division had met with the business community and shared safety tips with them.

“We met with the business community after several attempts and we have identified and pointed out certain issues to them in terms of target hardening. We have shared with them that we intend to structure our approach to curtail these offences. We reinforce the point that we are here to give additional support in terms of escorting funds and screening their employees. We also gave them recommendations in terms of remote storage for CCTV recording,” Supt Wellington said.

“The approach to the physical police presence in the space was also notified and modified by us. Having said that, I am appealing to persons out there not to purchase stolen goods, not to transport them or store them, and if they are found in possession of such goods they will be charged,” Supt Wellington added. “We are also imploring the business community not to leave excess cash in their business places and we want them to share whatever information they have with the police, locally or otherwise.”

But, Supt Wellington admitted that he knew there exists a lack of trust between members of the public and the police. However, he said citizens had to make an effort to meet the police halfway in order to restore safety and security in communities.

“It's not a matter of what I feel but what needs to be done. If they don't trust the local police they can always come to management or give information elsewhere and we will deal with it. The reality is we can only take people to court based on evidence and if we don't get it scientifically we have to rely on physical evidence. It's either we catch the man entering the place or we get fingerprints. It's not a matter of how they feel but a matter of their responsibility as citizens and as business people. Not all police are corrupt and we have been making inroads in Portland. Many cases that people think could not be solved, we get the necessary assistance and we solve them and we will continue to do that,” Supt Wellington said.

The division commander added that if there is a problem, business owners and Portland residents alike can always reach him at 876-882-3598 and/or 876-421-7950. If he is unavailable, he said the operations officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police Troyville Haughton, can be reached at 876-997-2078.

“I am confident that the investigative arm of the Portland Division is doing everything possible to clear these matters, but we also need partnership of the business people and the wider community,” Supt Wellington said.

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