First Look

Bunting recommends emergency measures to halt crime wave

| 2016-07-04 00:00:00

Opposition Spokesperson on National Security, Peter Bunting, is calling on the Minister of National Security to persuade Cabinet to make an emergency allocation of budgetary resources to support the security forces in addressing the current flare up of murders and shootings. Bunting made three specific recommendations:

Sustained Saturation Policing

The crisis situation in St. James, and Western Jamaica, requires saturation patrolling that can only be sustained if significant budgetary resources are allocated to maintain additional personnel from outside of Area 1.  Cash resources will be necessary as personnel from Mobile Reserve, Motorized Patrol, and elsewhere will require food, accommodation, fuel, and intelligence acquisition for prolonged effectiveness.

Acquire Motorcycles and Patrol Vehicles as a Short Term Force Multiplier

While it takes time to train and deploy additional security personnel, more vehicles will provide a force multiplier in the short term.  Therefore, I am urging the Minister, even while he cogitates on the modalities of his deportee police vehicle idea, to have the JCF immediately acquire motorcycles for quick response teams as well as new patrol cars and pickups for the JCF consistent with the existing fleet management policy.   We are already in the second quarter of the fiscal year and have yet to hear about orders being placed for vehicles for the security forces.

Relocate more key assets and senior personnel to Western Jamaica

The Ministry and the JCF should re-examine the recommendations of the 2014 Review of the JCF.  The Review recommended a decentralization of key assets and high-ranking officers now in Kingston, and have them redeployed them to Area 1 to reflect the geographic shift of crime.   In addition to a Mobile Reserve Western Base in Montpelier, key resources from CTOC, MOCA, and NIB should also be re-allocated to the West to target lottery scamming.  Finally, while the JCF did not immediately accept the recommendation to put a Deputy Commissioner and additional senior officers in the West, with the benefit of hindsight, this recommendation should now be re-examined.

"I have deliberately refrained from commenting on the performance of the Minister of National Security, allowing him time to become familiar with the challenging portfolio, however after four months on the job it is not sufficient for him to ask the public to “remain calm”.  He must demonstrate tangible measures to address the current crime wave.” said Bunting.

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