Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Criminal motorcyclists under the microscope out west

Published:Saturday | December 5, 2020 | 8:28 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Reporter
Some of the motorcycles which have been seized and impounded at a section of the Savanna-la-Mar Police Station in Westmoreland.
Some of the motorcycles which have been seized and impounded at a section of the Savanna-la-Mar Police Station in Westmoreland.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Superintendent Robert Gordon, the commanding officer for the Westmoreland police division, says criminals travelling around on motorcycles to carry out their nefarious activities will be specially targeted during the upcoming Christmas holiday, as part of the overall drive to maintain order.

According to Gordon, Westmoreland is the parish with the most motorcycle traffic, and criminals regularly use them in the commission of crimes. As a consequence, the parish’s high command has launched a special initiative to disrupt the activities of these culprits. He said that operations are being planned to go after motorcyclists, especially those with pillion riders.

The capital for Motorcycles

“Westmoreland has graduated from being the parish of bicycles to the capital for motorcycles. It is one of the parishes with the most motorcycles, but we would have realised, overtime, that motorcycles have become the vehicle of choice for a number of our criminal operatives within the parish of Westmoreland,” said Gordon.

“Wherever you see two persons on a motorcycle, particularly two males, it is highly probable that they have either committed an offence, or they are about to commit an offence, because that is the module of most of the offences that are being committed in the parish,” continued Gordon.

According to him, the police have been seizing illegally operating motorcycles at an alarming rate, which has resulted in hundreds of motorcycles scattered all over the compounds of several police stations.

“To that extent, we would have had particular drives … every week we have multiple drives on the streets for motorcycles and, on average, we seized at least 10 motorcycles per week. We have 52 weeks in a year, so that means that we are seizing an average of 520 motorcycles each year,” said Gordon.

“We prosecute an average of 50 motorcyclists each week, and again, we have 52 weeks in a year. So you can clearly see the challenges the police face, as we are prosecuting over 2,600 motorcycle offenders alone each year. Many of them are involved in robberies, shootings and murders.”

In addition to the criminals on motorcycles, Gordon said, during the Christmas season, communities that are seen as criminal hotspots will also be getting special attention aimed at suppressing the activities of criminals.

“There will be a total lockdown of a number of communities, which are considered to be hotspots and are being over-run by criminals,” said Gordon. “The joint forces (police and soldiers) will be seeking to flush out criminals. The operation, which officially started last Friday, will increase in intensity as it gets closer to Christmas.

Since the start of the year, the parish of Westmoreland has recorded 69 murders, seven less than the 76 murders over the comparative period last year. As it relates to robberies, which are also a worrisome concern, approximately 80 per cent of the cases involve motorcyclists.