'We want our cops' - New Kingston residents praying that police post remains
Scores of residents of communities in and around New Kingston, and many persons who work in the area, are expecting the worst as the police prepare to shutter the post in the community.
Last week, reports surfaced that the police were to move out on Saturday after the owner of the building served the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) with a notice to vacate the premises several months ago.
But up to yesterday, the post remained open with no official word from the leadership of the Force.
"We heard that we were supposed to move from 10 o'clock this morning, from yesterday as a matter of fact, but from morning I have not seen anybody come or anything," said Sergeant Lloyd Smith, one of two cops seen at the post when our news team visited on Saturday.
"But what I know is that the people in the community are not too happy about it," said Smith.
He noted that the police post receives at least 10 reports on an average day from shoppers, business owners, and residents of the communities which fall within its jurisdiction.
According to Smith, robberies and break-ins make up most of the reports received by the cops and that is troubling for law-abiding persons in the area.
"If them take away the police post, what is going to happen in New Kingston? Is pure robbers and pickpockets are going to be around here," said a male worker at a 24-hour service station metres from the police post.
He was supported by a resident, who argued that the police post in the area was the only reason she felt safe stopping to get food in New Kingston at nights.
Member of parliament for the area, Julian Robinson, also expressed concern about the plan to close the post.
He said stakeholders in the New Kingston area are willing to identify an alternative location to prevent the closure of the post, which provides service to the multiple businesses and residents in that community.
Robinson argued that it is critical that National Security Minister Robert Montague intervenes now and have dialogue with the owners to find a solution to the impending closure.
Months ago, the owners of the property served notice on the operators of the businesses there, including Housen Locksmith and the JCF, to vacate the premises, which is reportedly to be converted into a car park.
Already most of the businesses have been shuttered, with the locksmith leaving a number for persons to contact him.
"Customers keep coming same way to come check on the stores, but they realise that them shut down. So what they (owners) do now is to put up a few signs to show that they have relocated," explained Dave Campbell, a security guard.
"Most persons have moved, but we (security) still need to be here because if the police and everybody move, then men are going to come and hit out the glass them," Campbell said.