Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Operation Clean Sweep reaps success

Published:Monday | February 20, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Members of the police force on foot patrol in downtown Kingston to restore order to the market district.

The police have vowed to continue Operation Clean Sweep over the long term as they move to ensure order in public spaces.

Operation Clean Sweep, which started last month, involves the deployment of police personnel in public areas to provide reassurance to persons who conduct business in select towns.

"Five weeks ago, we launched Operation Clean Sweep after we looked at it and saw a number of crimes happening in public spaces, bus terminuses, and bus parks," Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, head of the Corporate Communications Unit, told a Gleaner Editors' Forum last Thursday.

"When you go into Spanish Town, Linstead, and May Pen town centres, persons are vending illegally. These are serious situations because what they do is actually provide support for criminals," added Lindsay.

She argued that criminals love to camouflage themselves in the chaotic environments of these town centres.

"They come and they blend in among the persons that are out there, whether it is illegal taxi or illegal vending, or they use stalls as ways to shoot persons and get away," said Lindsay.

Last week, 346 people and 250 motor vehicles were searched during Operation Clean Sweep in Spanish Town. The police issued 138 tickets, seized one pound of ganja, 11 offensive weapons, arrested 23 people, processed 16 individuals, and seized $57,718 in cash. A total of 31 packs of illegal cigarettes were also seized and five persons prosecuted for not having a spirit licence.

During the first week of the operation, the police reported that 1,260 people had been searched in Spanish Town, Linstead, and May Pen.

According to the police, 183 tickets were issued to defiant motorists, 19 persons who were peddling uncustomed goods were arrested, while the same number were nabbed for being armed with offensive weapons.

At that time, acting Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant declared that the police were determined to curtail crime in Jamaica's public spaces.