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More social intervention needed, says senior cop

Published:Thursday | December 22, 2016 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott

Veteran crime fighter Senior Superintendent Steve McGregor is calling for a radical change in the approach to preventing and fighting crime in the country.

Supt. McGregor, who is in charge of the Territorial Operations Portfolio of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, says law enforcers alone are not able to bring the monster of crime under control.

He charged that social institutions need to do more to better assist the police in their efforts to curb crime in the country.

"It is not only a police problem, we have a social problem (too). We take 500 to 600 guns off the streets every year and we arrest people but still we continue to get new people (committing crime). There is a social side that we should look at and we should investigate why our people are so inclined to kill each other over simple disputes and minor difference amongst themselves," said Supt. McGregor, former head of the West Kingston police division.

He argued that the solution cannot just lie in detection of crime and apprehension of criminals and has urged for special attention to be paid to students leaving the sixth form level of high school.

"The government should take a look into the social side of things and prioritise how we deal with it. We should also look at how we influence the attitudes of young people because they are the main perpetrators of crime and violence in our country," Supt. McGregor told The Gleaner.

The senior policeman complained that social agencies were sometimes not fulfilling their responsibilities to communities after the police have done their work.

"The police has always sterilised the communities and get it ready for social intervention but the other social agencies do not fall inline and do the work. Nobody is holding the social people accountable," the Superintendent contended.

He lamented that the police are oftentimes called upon to play the role of the social agencies, but pointed out that "we are not judged on that. We are judged on how many people we arrest and how many people we take off the streets, so the social agencies need to do their work and assist the police."

Last year, during his contribution to the constituency debate in Parliament, Member of Parliament for North West St James, Dr Horace Chang painted a picture of dysfunction and inefficiency among social intervention agencies working to tackle crime.

Dr Chang pointed to the lack of cooperation between the social intervention entities as the main reason why more has not been achieved in curbing crime.