Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Gov't wants to make gang membership or association a criminal offence

Published:Wednesday | June 14, 2017 | 6:04 AMJerome Reynolds
National Security Minister, Robert Montague, has told Parliament that the Government will be pursuing amendments to the anti-gang legislation as it increases tools available to the police to crack down on criminal networks.

The Government wants to make it a criminal offence to be a member of a gang or to associate with gang members.

National Security Minister, Robert Montague, has told Parliament that the Government will be pursuing amendments to the anti-gang legislation as it increases tools available to the police to crack down on criminal networks.

Montague explained that the amended law would give the police the power to go to court and get an order designating a criminal organisation as a gang.

Following such designation, the police can also apply for control orders for members of the gang.

It would also be an offence for someone to be a member or be affiliated with a criminal organisation that has been designated as a gang.

The national security minister noted that gangs are one of the main factors driving up murders across the country.

 

National Security Minister, Robert Montague

The police have stated that there are more than 200 gangs operating in Jamaica.

Montague said the passage of the amendments to the anti-gang legislation will work in tandem with the law dealing with zones of special operations.

Justice Ministry Delroy Chuck indicated yesterday that the goal is to enact the law by the end of the month.

Under the proposed law, the prime minister will have the power to declare any geographically defined area within a single continuous boundary a zone of special operations for up to two months.

It can be further extended to 120 days.

The legislation would authorise the security forces to search places, vehicles or persons within specific areas without a warrant, among other things.