St James police to target public smoking
Senior Superintendent of Police Marlon Nesbeth, head of the St James Police Division, has said the issue of smoking in public spaces is on the police's radar, but more resources, such as a ticket book system, are needed to effectively enforce laws governing the prohibited act.
Nesbeth told The Gleaner that his officers' hands are somewhat tied as the system has yet to reach the stage where tickets can be issued to persons found in breach of the law.
"We know this is happening in public spaces and the police need to do more, but we need the assistance of a ticketing system that has not yet reached us," said Nesbeth.
"Identifying someone smoking in public spaces, it is very difficult to try to enforce any other component other than to issue a ticket."
The smoking-ban regulation was imposed by the previous People's National Party administration in July 2013.
The commanding officer, however, noted that the police have been working with agencies that are responsible for providing the ticketing books for the smoking ban.
PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGNS
He further said that public education campaigns regarding smoking laws need more visibility, and he has vowed that the police will be partnering with other state agencies to get the message out.
"We have to understand that it is hard to change a culture. It is hard to change something like that overnight," said Nesbeth.
Under the Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulation, failing to comply within the first instance attracts a fine not exceeding $10,000. A second offence attracts a fine of $25,000. Thereafter, a breach attracts a fine not exceeding $50,000.