Jamaica’s murder statistics would be even grimmer if not for the improved intelligence capabilities of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), which is saving over 300 lives annually, according to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the country’s Minister of Defence.
He made the comment about the “improved intelligence architecture” of the JCF while speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. He was leading the debate on the motion he brought to extend the states of emergency he declared for seven parishes on November 15, until January 14.
The motion passed with 44 Government members voting “yes” and will be similarly debated in the Senate on Friday where it must receive a two-thirds majority vote in the 21-member body for it to succeed.
According to the prime minister, some of those saved as a result of police intelligence are themselves criminals. He pointed to what he said was an “unfortunate story of one such criminal who was saved, who ended up being the perpetrator of a murder against a family member, of a member of the force”.
While admitting that it was a topic he was reluctant to speak on, Holness boasted that “the JCF now has very impressive intelligence-gathering capabilities”.
“That capability is saving lives,” he added.
He also pointed to the increasing use of GIS (geographic information system) and spatial mapping analysis as being “critical in determining how we plan for crime and how we deploy assets”.
And, with a homicide rate way above the regional and global averages, Holness lamented that “There’s scarcely a country in this region, maybe two others, that face the murder rate…(that we face)”.