MONTEGO BAY, St James — Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Devon Watkis, who heads the Police Area One, has warned criminals that they will be apprehended by lawmen who will be deployed in their number across western Jamaica during the festive season.
"Persons who possess criminal intent can rest assured that their chance of escape will be minimal and therefore the best thing to do is not even venture in that regard," ACP Watkis warned. "Especially to the young men who normally manifest the gun culture, we are asking them to leave that behind and enjoy the spirit of Christmas".
The Police Area One encompasses the police divisions of Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland.
In a bid to safeguard shoppers and fun seekers, the ACP disclosed that there will be additional deployment of police personnel, including himself and the divisional commanders who will be on foot patrol throughout the commercial centres in the townships during the holiday period.
"We want to increase our visible presence in areas that we expect a lot of people to come out and shop and I am planning to come out on foot patrol in some of these townships, along with some of these senior officers," he stressed.
He further noted: " We want to ensure that people enjoy themselves in an environment where they can be assured that they are safe".
The additional deployment of cops is expected to last until early in the New Year, ACP Watkis noted.
But he was quick to point out that the presence of cops in the commercial hubs will not result in the neglect of regular policing of hot spots in the region.
" No! Not to the detriment of maintaining our police strategies of good coverage to these areas," he stoutly protested.
He explained that over 80 per cent of police conducting administrative duties will be temporarily pulled from behind the desks to boost the number of police carrying out operational tasks.
ACP Watkis also disclosed that there will be strong presence of police monitoring the traffic along the roadways, as he appealed to motorists to be cautious.
" I want to appeal to the motorists to obey the traffic laws and procedures; don't run the lights and cause people to lose their lives and sustain injuries," he pleaded.
"And those taxi- operators transporting passengers, I want them to understand that every passenger that they carry is an expression of trust in them, so taxi- operators have a duty to take these people to their destinations safely and without the anguish of unnecessary speeding," he argued.
ACP Watkis also appealed to the public to be moderate with their consumption of alcoholic beverages over the festive season.
"We are appreciative that this is a time of the year when some persons want to put a little spirit in their souls, but it must be done with some strict responsibility. If persons are going out to drink and they intend to be transported, they should have a designated driver," he urged.
Meanwhile, President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) Davon Crump has come out in support of the additional measures that are being implemented by the police over the festive season.
"A strong police presence results in the confidence of both shoppers and merchants. The business community welcomes this move by the police," Crump emphasised.