Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Area One police warding off COVID-19

Published:Wednesday | April 1, 2020 | 4:19 PM

The police high command in Area One, which covers St James, Hanover, Trelawny and Westmoreland, has instituted a number of health and security measures to ensure the safety of prisoners, staff, and visitors amid the coronavirus crisis.

Superintendent Kirk Ricketts, the commanding officer for Trelawny, says no cop or prisoner in the division has tested positive for the virus.

“Well, we are still allowing visits but we have ensured that there is no interaction between the prisoners and their visitors," said Ricketts.

"We have also restricted the kind of items that we would normally take for prisoners… for now, we are just basically taking medication and dry goods that are manufactured seal on arrival, and certain toiletries, to safeguard the population within the custody ."

Ricketts said attention has also been given to keep prisoners safe.

"In terms of new offenders coming into the prison population, we are ensuring to the best of our ability that persons who commit certain minor offences that we can process without placing them in holding custody, we would offer immediate bail,” said Ricketts.

“If there is a need to take an individual into custody and we see them showing symptoms that could be associated with COVID-19, we have identified a quarantine lock-up where that person will be held. We will then call in the chief medical doctor for the parish, Dr Dian Dale," added Ricketts.

Last week, the police commanders for Hanover and St James indicated that police stations across both parishes were sanitised and health and safety protocols implemented.

“We have clean-up and sanitise the various police stations and put measures in place to ensure the safety of the officers working at the checkpoints,” said Superintendent Sharon Beeput, the commander for Hanover.

“We are doing our best to stay clear of this virus.”

In Westmoreland, commanding officer, Superintendent Robert Gordon, said personnel are on cue as it relates to ensuring that they are operating in an atmosphere that offers good protection.

"We have narrowed down visitations rights by relatives of persons in custody as a precautionary measure. We have sanitised the general area in and around the cell block and we have narrowed down the items that are normally carried to the lock-up by relatives of inmates," said Gordon.

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