Gains made from SOE won’t be lost, says senior cop
MONTEGO BAY, St James – With additional boots on the ground, thanks to the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s annual Yuletide Policing Operational Plan, assistant commissioner of police in charge of Area One, Clifford Chambers is confident that gains made from the current state of public emergency (SOE) in two western parishes will be maintained.
According to him, during the SOE which ends on Thursday, there was a 79 per cent reduction in major crimes in St James and all the murders committed during the period were cleared up.
“Since the SOE in St James, we’ve only had three murders and all three have now been solved,” Chambers told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.
St James is in Area One which also covers the parishes of Hanover, Trelawny, and Westmoreland. Like St James, Hanover is now under an SOE. Among the benefits the SOE has reaped, Chambers said, is a better relationship between residents and the police. In his view, residents feel safer when there is more order on the roads, and also when they can easily access and engage with cops.
“The SOE, to make it clear, has that big impact, the effect is there, the results are there. But if it is not granted, we have a way in which we can, at least, replicate it in the best possible way to maintain and continue the momentum that we garnered from the SOE,” Chambers said.
“The operations will continue, the numbers will continue to be increased and the effect should be the same,” he insisted.
He explained that more cops have been on the ground since late November and they will be in place until early January.
“All the parishes will have a large contingent of police personnel. It is called the Yuletide Policing Operational Plan. It’s the Christmas deployment that we do from the 27th of November to the 8th of January,” he told the Observer.
“Part of the approach is to do an 80/20 arrangement where we will be reducing the office staff and put extra persons on the road. We will also be supported by the recent graduates from the training school that will add numbers to the street,” he added.
There will be additional support from the Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (CTOC), marine, canine and “other formations which are not normally in the streets with us,” he said. In addition, there will be continued support from the military even though they will no longer have the authority of a police constable as they do during an SOE.
“The SOE declaration is really above my office, that’s really the commissioner’s call but the thing that would advise and inform an SOE obviously is the numbers. But one of things that we know that we are going to do is that with the Yuletide deployment, we are confident that we will be able to maintain and continue the success,” Chambers assured.