Time for a new crime strategy
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Ewin James wrote an incisive column that appeared in The Gleaner on December 27, headlined 'Changing commissioner not the solution to crime'. I wholeheartedly agree with his stated points.
Two solutions that James mentioned in the column were for the government to restart hanging in Jamaica, and for the authorities to commence punishing petty offences wherever they occur.
You are absolutely right, Mr James. The police need to start taking a zero-tolerance approach to small crimes. This will send a clear signal to all Jamaicans that if they breach laws in this country, they will be prosecuted.
There are, however, fundamental issues concerning the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) that require firm action, including the serious corruption problems facing the force. The low clear-up rate, lack of modern equipment, and the abuse of citizens are also issues which need to be addressed.
Whenever the next police commissioner is appointed, that person will have to implement a special no-nonsense, workable plan to identify and extricate those corrupt officers who are presently serving within the force.
A serious effort must be made to thoroughly investigate police suspected of engaging in corrupt activities. Where appropriate, they must be prosecuted and made to face the courts. This will send a forceful message to members of the JCF that if they get involved in criminal activities; they will be caught and face the full force of the law.
As it relates to the serious crime problem in St James, I believe that a limited state of emergency is required to flush out the criminals from the area. I think that a special branch of the Mobile Reserve should be set up in Montego Bay. Flood the city and inner-city communities with soldiers and police until all the wanted criminals in St James are apprehended. Install more closed-circuit cameras in and around Montego Bay. The murder problem is out of control in St James. We need immediate action.