The enhanced security measures referred to by Major Anderson, is an oblique reference to the States of Public Emergency (SOEs) introduced in sections of Kingston and St. Cathrine and St. James.
While acknowledging that the operations cannot continue indefinitely, he said that the removal “should not be premature and it should never be done for any other reason except that we are now in a position to continue the gains you have by other means”.
“We are not getting complaints from citizens about this. Other places are asking us for this,” he pointed out.
He was addressing the Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon meeting held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday.
Major Anderson noted that there has been a decrease in the murder rate in St. James since the operational activities associated with the enhanced security measures have been implemented.
“We have the lowest rate of murders in St. James now since 2003. We have the lowest number of shootings in St. James since before 2002. They are living a different reality. We do not want to prematurely do anything to disrupt that,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Major Anderson said that the number of people being held under the States of Public Emergency (SOEs) is now fewer than 200.
The SOEs are in effect in St. James, North St. Catherine and in sections of the Kingston Central, Kingston Western, and St. Andrew South Police Divisions.
Major Anderson informed that 105 youngsters under 18 years old have been taken into custody. Of the number, 80 are 17 years old; 19 are 16 years old; five are 15 years old; and one is 13 years old.
“The 13-year-old, one of the 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old were charged for murder. Four more were charged for other gun offences and two for sexual offences, including rape, and 21 of those were known gang members,” he said.
Major Anderson said the figures show that young people are perpetrators of crime, a number of whom also become victims. “That reality suggests that there is a wider problem that is sort of beyond the police. What I have found is… the officers I have come in contact with will prefer not to take children into custody. That is not their desire. That is their necessity sometimes,” he pointed out.
“We have an issue and a problem and we need to fix it, and we are fixing it,” he added.
- Countries: Jamaica