West to get Mobile Reserve base soon
National Security Minister Peter Bunting says a permanent location for the Mobile Reserve of the Jamaica Constabulary Force will be established in western Jamaica to respond to the rising incidence of gun-related crime in Hanover, Westmoreland, and St James.
"One of the things we are looking at is permanently having a company of the Mobile Reserve based in Area One. Right now, we have companies that come down for a couple of weeks and then they go back, and it has reached the stage where the criminals know when they around, they keep their heads down, and they keep low. Similarly to how we have police intelligence, criminals have their intelligence, too. They know when they (Mobile Reserve) go back (to Kingston), and that's when they go out," Bunting told attendees at a consultation session on crime in Lucea, Hanover, last week.
"We are looking for a permanent location, but we are basing quite a few at Falmouth Police Station, which I think can accommodate about 200. So we will have about 150 Mobile Reserve police based in Area One. Falmouth, initially, but we are looking for somewhere in the Montpelier area that would be central for the parishes in Area One, for certain the three hot spot areas that they can respond to quickly. That's the medium-term plan," he said.
Bunting said because of the nature of the weapons possessed by the criminals, in some cases, only highly trained police officers can be deployed to engage them physically.
"When you have violent criminals in a parish, the truth of the matter is that some of them are armed - not just with 9-millimetres or revolvers. Some have AK-47 assault rifles ... you can't ask just any and any police personnel to go and tackle them," he said.
"So we generally look at persons who specialise in that type of operation - people from the Mobile Reserve; people from the area operations and divisional operations team; people who are well trained and operationally ready," he added.