Mon | Oct 16, 2017

Linstead Problems Pushing Police

Published:Thursday | February 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson
Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer Wayne Stanbury, manager at Berry-Don financial services making a point at the Linstead forum at Shakinah restaurant, King Street, Linstead last Wednesday.
Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer Senior Superintendent of Police Anthony Powell at the Linstead forum at Shakinah restaurant, King Street, Linstead last Wednesday.
Michelle Lee-Gaynor
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Linstead, described as a town 'bursting at its seams', is pushing the police there to make an appeal for help to buy bicycles to efficiently navigate the town's congested streets and enforce law and order.

The police's call for help follows one from businessman and manager of Berry-Don Financial Services Wayne Stanbury, who declared "we have to put it in some order, because right now there's no order".

Business operators and government officials were at a Growth Forum hosted by The Gleaner in the historic town. They agreed that the town, which is already heavily dependent on foot patrols and is well-known for its market history, is facing challenges as a result of the increasing population and the growth of businesses. Some of the problems listed include unruly taxi operators allegedly capturing parking spaces designated for business, the migration of vendors into unauthorised zones and the natural layout of the town which constrains movement.

not enough space

Anthony Powell, senior superintendent of police, (SSP) and acting head of the St Catherine North division, in which Linstead falls, told The Gleaner "there seems to be just not enough space, based on the length of time the town would have been in existence and the growth of business in the town." He said the situation was compounded by those who operate public passenger and robot vehicles and the indiscipline in that sector.

He explained that the police have been using a "mix of policing methods" to minimise the problems. The senior cop said while the police conducted mobile patrols, foot patrol was more ideal. However, that is a view that branch manager for the Bank of Nova Scotia, Linstead, Michelle Lee-Gaynor, questioned. "How much can they cover like that?" she asked, noting that the police needed a more efficient method.

According to her, "they need additional help".

Responding, SSP Powell noted that bicycles, would be a good means of policing the town, but he argued that the Force faced resource constraints. He said "at the moment, we do not have a bicycle component in this part of the parish. That is probably one of the things we need to correct going forward. It comes with some costs because you have to purchase bicycles which are not durable and we have to start the process all over again. We would welcome donations from the business community."

No pledges came from the business operators present at the forum.

Chairman of the St Catherine Parish Council, Norman Scott, told The Gleaner later that there would be a new campaign to bring order to the town, although he noted that some vendors did not obey municipal police officers, largely because they did not carry firearms.

Meanwhile, SSP Powell said the police are keeping close watch on robberies in the town. Seven cases have been reported so far this year, a number the cop said was high, compared with the same period in 2015.