Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Increased criminal confrontations explain growing fatal shootings - Cops

Published:Thursday | March 9, 2017 | 3:00 AMJovan Johnson

The Police High Command has said that increased confrontation with alleged criminals has contributed to the higher number of fatal incidents. This claim is in response to concerns expressed by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) about the explosion of such shootings.

INDECOM last month said that for the first two months of the year, 31 people were killed by the police, a 55 per cent increase when compared with the 20 fatal shootings by members of the security forces for the similar period last year.

According to Hamish Campbell, assistant commissioner of the oversight body, at the current rate, Jamaica is on pace to record more than 200 police-involved fatal shootings this year.

 

Increase in gun attacks

 

But the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said that its review shows "a direct correlation between an increased number of violent gun attacks against the security forces, increased gun murders and shooting of civilians and an increase in police use of deadly force when compared to the same period in 2016".

It said that the majority (23) of the fatalities resulted from shooting against the police.

Noting that "there is a concerted and calculated stream of gun attacks against the police", the High Command said that 45 gun assaults against police officers were recorded for the first two months this year - a 13 per cent increase in comparison to 40 for the same period in 2016, or just over one attack per day for the review period.

Nonetheless, the JCF said, "We take no pleasure in the loss of lives and choose to instead make arrests for persons to appear in a court of law."

It added: "Even in the face of the unceasing attacks on our members, the police High Command continues to remind police officers of their legal and moral responsibility in the use of force and in protecting themselves when confronted with deadly situations."

A five-year assessment of police data shows that the period in question, January 1, 2017 - February 28, 2017, accounted for:

- The highest number of gun-related deaths and shootings in the last five years.

- A 13 per cent increase in the number of police criminal confrontations (shootouts).

- The highest number of firearms seized in the last five years.

- The highest number of arrests and charges of persons found in possession of illegal firearms in the last five years.