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Phillips: Criminals running freely under SOE face card

Published:Tuesday | November 12, 2019 | 12:13 AM
Peter Phillips
Peter Phillips

Citing what he deems as the failure of several states of emergency to curb rampant crime in sections of the island, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips on the weekend rapped the Government for failing to get a grip on the situation.

Speaking at a Northern Clarendon constituency conference in Kellits on Sunday, Phillips labelled the SOEs as a “face card” being used by the Government in the absence of any real crime-fighting strategy.

SOEs are currently blanketing St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, Clarendon, St Catherine and St Andrew South.

Phillips said that police data indicate that fewer guns have been recovered and fewer wanted persons have been detained this year under multiple SOEs across the island in comparison to last year.

“In the operations, checkpoints that are supposed to mark the boundaries of the SOE are nonexistent or undermanned,” he added. “For example, there is an SOE in Clarendon, but if you drive from the top of Bull Head Mountain to May Pen on the plains of the parish, you don’t see any police personnel. You will drive from the east to the west of Clarendon and don’t see a single roadblock or a checkpoint. Criminals are running freely.”

Phillips argued that criminal activity can only be controlled if the police are able to locate perpetrators.

“You have to go where the criminal is. You have to go into his space. You have to go there and dig him out. You have to create and build evidence from the intelligence that you have,” the PNP president told party supporters.

Phillips said that the social reasons behind criminal activities should be addressed as too many Jamaicans believe violence is the only viable option to secure their future.