PORT MARIA, St Mary — Pointing to migration as the primary reason behind almost all the resignations from her team, the head of the St Mary Police Division has called for more cops to be deployed here to help maint ain the downward trend in crime.
“We are hoping that we can get some additional staff,” Superintendent Bobette Morgan-Simpson said during the monthly meeting of the St Mary Municipal Corporation last Thursday.
According to Morgan-Simpson, the parish has “lost a number of members of staff” due, particularly, to resignations and retirement. Some cops have also been transferred.
She was unaware, she said when asked, of many police personnel resigning due to a lack of promotion.
“I don't know of that in St Mary,” she replied.
“What I find is that most of the resignations are for migration purposes. I can't speak to other divisions but I can speak for St Mary. Almost all the resignations we have now, persons are migrating,” added Morgan-Simpson.
The police superintendent pointed out that St Mary is a training division and added that a number of young cops sometimes seen in the streets of the parish are actually doing on-the-job training. “They graduate and sometimes we don't get any [deployed here],” she lamented.
Morgan-Simpson, in the meantime, expressed optimism that the long-awaited construction of the new divisional headquarters in Port Maria will begin in June — the new date that she said has been communicated to her.
She added: “I am sure you would be happy to hear, and to help me keep our fingers crossed, that the commencement date to start the new station is June 2022. Please note, that is what I was told. I am hoping that, come June 2022, some work will begin on the new station.”
According to their divisional commander the police in St Mary have cut “serious and violent crimes”, bringing the numbers down from 159 in 2020 to 111 last year.
Murders also declined from the 32 cases reported in 2020 to 27 last year. The Annotto Bay police area, in 2021, recorded the single-largest number of murders (10) committed in the parish. Regarding murders last year, St Mary also had a 63 per cent clear-up rate, where suspects were arrested and charged.
Eighteen cases of shooting were recorded in the parish in 2021, the same as the previous year.
In relation to robberies, there was a notable decline in St Mary. Thirteen cases were recorded last year, compared to 23 in 2020.
The parish also experienced a huge fall in relation to rapes cases, from 31 in 2020 to five last year. All rape cases reported last year have been cleared up, the superintendent disclosed.
In addition, her officers had a 100 per cent clear-up rate for aggravated assault. There were 20 such cases recorded last year in comparison to 26 in 2020.
Morgan-Simpson opined that, on the roads of St Mary, her team was doing better than their colleagues in some larger divisions which have much larger populations. They carried out 16,333 prosecutions on the roads of the parish last year, she said.
Impressed with the downward trend in serious crimes, chairman of the St Mary Municipal Corporation, Richard Creary supported the call for the parish's police to be provided with more resources.
“We hope that, with the recruitment [of police officers] that is taking place, the numbers in St Mary can be increased,” said Creary.
“In another forum the other day I mentioned that… if we continue treating St Mary in the way we treat it in terms of not providing personnel, then in 10 years' time St Mary can become St James or Westmoreland or Hanover. The way to prevent that is to provide the resources for St Mary, and for the persons in charge to utilise those resources so that we keep St Mary a low-crime parish,” Creary added.
He also expressed hope that, with more resources, the parish police will be able to provide improved assistance regarding maintenance of public order.