Security measures will remain after SOEs - Chang
Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang is reassuring Jamaicans that the presence of the security forces will remain in troubled communities after the three states of public emergency (SOE) end.
The enhanced security measure elapsed on January 2 in St Catherine North, in sections of the Corporate Area yesterday and will end on January 31 in St James.
Last year, the parliamentary Opposition withdrew support for any further extensions of the SOEs, citing constitutional breaches.
"We are not pulling down the security apparatus at all. We are maintaining the presence in the communities, as they did over the Christmas holidays, where they (members of the security forces) did their searches across the island. That activity will continue in some areas," said Chang in response to a question from The Gleaner.
According to the national security minister, regular stopping and searching of persons and vehicles will not be as efficient and effective as done under the states of public emergency. "But we are not going to abandon stations. We are going to be working hard to ensure that Jamaicans are safe and secure, and that we can maintain the gains that we have had under the SOEs," Chang insisted.
CONTINUOUS, MAJOR REDUCTION
The minister added, "Bear in mind that for 2018, we had major reduction in crime in 12 of the 19 territorial police divisions, and the seven that had increases in absolute numbers were fairly small. And if you look at the other major crimes, such as shooting and rape, we have had a continuous, major reduction in all of those areas."
He said, "The SOEs gave the security forces some extra powers, which I think they used very efficiently and well. We didn't have any abuse, we have major reduction in murder.
"Now, what we have to do is look at how we can maintain that. Even without those extra legislative tools, we may even have to bring some new ones in, but it will take some time."
Chang added, "I think we have a very capable team of leadership across the security field, both the police and the army and special agencies like the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, and once they combined their efforts, we will continue to have good results."