Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Cops target 'Back Road'

Published:Monday | March 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM
A section of Port Henderson Road, better known as 'Back Road' in Portmore, St Catherine.

'Back Road', the red-light district of Port Henderson Road in Portmore, St Catherine, has been red-flagged by the St Catherine South police following Saturday morning's discovery of a 9mm pistol and the detention of more than 50 persons, including three minors among 30 females.

The near four-hour operation was led by Superintendent of Police Leighton Gray and involved 73 police personnel. A Walther PPK .380 pistol was also recovered in a separate operation miles away in Old Braeton.

Gray told The Gleaner that the targeted operation was pointed at four nightclubs along the stretch where scantily clad women parade daily, from dusk to dawn, much in the view of passersby.

"They were two different operations. Port Henderson was a cordon and search, carried out along specific targets, including four nightclubs," Gray explained.

"At one of the clubs, persons were searched while exiting. Nothing was found then, but on searching the club, a firearm was found at the rear under a shelf with four rounds of ammunition," he added.




The lawmen's other major find was three female minors among the 50 persons detained.

"It is of note that the operation was also targeting human trafficking and reports of underage children, some, we understand, allegedly involved in prostitution," said Gray.

"However, the three we found, two 17-year-olds and one 16, were patrons at the club. They were processed and handed over to their parents and guardians, who were warned. Two of the club operators were also taken in and warned in that regard," he pointed out.


... Regular raids as robberies reported

Superintendent of Police Leighton Gray has indicated that 'Back Road' has been placed squarely on the division's radar for regular raids.

"Three weeks ago, two men were shot, one fatally, while visiting nightclubs in that area. One was hospitalised and the other not found until a day and a half later at the seaside.

"People have been reporting robberies, plus, late last year, a man was killed around there after he stabbed a dancer," Gray noted, adding that men wanted for shootings and murders were also found in the area last year.

The police's hands are tied, Gray said, as it relates to women parading in underwear along the stretch as early as 6 p.m.

"The law, with regard to indecent exposure, speaks to female exhibiting the genitalia and breasts. Even if a woman is there in a brassiere and panty, we can't charge her for indecent exposure. It doesn't amount to that offence. Those are some of the challenges we face," he said.




Meanwhile, Gray said that the police were yet to substantiate that live sex shows are going on inside clubs on the strip.

"Yes, that would be offensive. It may be taking place along the stretch, but we are not au fait with that information. I know from time to time it happens at some clubs, but not necessarily there, but we are keeping tabs on those things. We will also be looking into that," he said.