US donates key equipment to help Jamaican police in crime fight

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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THE United States (US) Embassy in Kingston on Friday donated key equipment and supplies, including cameras, radios and protective vests to assist local law enforcement with crime fighting efforts.

The donation was made at the closing ceremony for a two-day Multilateral Crime Summit in Kingston which also involved the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Canada, and the European Union, which focused on 'Combating Crime in an Interconnected World'.

US Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno said the equipment is intended to strengthen coordination, investigations, and maintain records. “This donation also includes post incident emergency equipment to assist with the collection and preservation of evidence as well as supplies to aid in training and equipping of first responders,” he said.

Ambassador Moreno also announced a two-year US$4 million agreement between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Jamaica to support the Ministry of Education's Safe Schools Programme. Noting that the USAID will contribute US$3 million of the amount, he said the agreement would allow the programme, which started in 2004, to reach more schools.

“This community-based approach targeting children is crucial to breaking the cycle of violence and criminality; it has implications for securing the community, both nationally and internationally. The recruitment of youth into criminal gangs and lottery scamming activities is the best example of what we are up against,” the ambassador stated. He stressed that it takes a multi-faceted approach to successfully fight crime and squash transnational criminal networks.

The Safe Schools Programme is a multi-agency initiative that coordinates the efforts of the Government and partners to assist schools in managing challenges such as anti-social behaviour, violence. Under the initiative, specially trained members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, called school resource officers, are deployed to targeted schools across the island to work with at-risk students.

The three-day conference was aimed at producing actionable opportunities to strengthen intelligence sharing at the community, national and international levels in order to dismantle criminal organisations.

General Rosso José Serrano, former head of the Colombian National Police, and former New York Police Department commissioner Raymond Kelly were among the key officials who addressed the forum.

— Alphea Saunders

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