Cuthbert-Flynn wants greater use of drone technology in crime fighting
CUTHBERT-FLYNN... I believe that as we continue to improve and modernise the capabilities of the security forces that we also make sure that we invest in the usage of drones in crime fighting and surveillance

MEMBER of Parliament for St Andrew West Rural Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn is calling for greater use of drones in crime fighting and surveillance, especially in remote, hilly areas with heavy vegetation.

"I believe that as we continue to improve and modernise the capabilities of the security forces that we also make sure that we invest in the usage of drones in crime fighting and surveillance," she said during her contribution to the state of the constituency debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

She noted that the use of this technology would be a game changer for her constituency, given the hilly terrain of the area.

It has long been a common reality for criminals to escape on foot into bushy areas after committing various crimes.

However, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has reported that it continues to use drones to offer aerial support in its operational activities on the ground.

It said its drone team is trained in the operation of the devices in counter-surveillance, reconnaissance and other activities to support the core functions of the JCF.

As recently as July, the police's drone team carried out a successful operation near a security force checkpoint in Clarendon where a vehicle with two men was intercepted and a Taurus 9mm pistol with 11 rounds were seized.

In the meantime, Cuthbert-Flynn said she is pleased that another bit of technology in the JCF's crime-fighting arsenal — JamaicaEye — will be set up throughout the Stony Hill area of her constituency.

"We're now seeing the beginning of work for the JamaicaEye installation in the Stony Hill area. I ask that our deputy prime minister [Dr Horace Chang] sees to it that we don't just stop there, but that we see the installation of JamaicaEye in all major towns and squares in West Rural St Andrew because now, more than ever, it is needed to boost the crime-fighting capacity of our security forces in all four divisions," she said.

JamaicaEye, which is an initiative of the Ministry of National Security, is part of an islandwide network of camera surveillance systems designed to increase the safety of all citizens. These cameras monitor public spaces across the island and assist the authorities in responding to incidents in the event of an incident, disaster, act of criminality or accident.

Under the system, people who have a camera system outside their home or office, facing a public space, are encouraged to help by registering their camera with JamaicaEye and sharing their camera feed.

BY ALECIA SMITH Senior staff reporter smitha@jamaicaobserver.com

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