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Shields casts doubt on effectiveness of new anti-gang law

Published: Sunday December 8, 2013 | 12:30 pm Comments 0
File - Mark Shields
File - Mark Shields

Former deputy commissioner of police in charge of crime, Mark Shields, has criticised the country's efforts to implement anti-gang laws without first having the necessary DNA database in place.

Writing in today's edition of The Sunday Gleaner, the former Scotland yard sleuth who joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force in 2005, stated that DNA legislation should be the main priority of Government if it intends to improve the detection of crime and cleared-up the high crime rate.

According to Shields, to introduce the controversial anti-gang legislation before the necessary DNA laws are implemented is a case of "placing the cart before the horse".

He argues that the DNA legislation, which would establish a national DNA database for the country, would create the foundation for the effective implementation of the anti-gang legislation.

Shields notes, for instance, that where a person is arrested under the anti-gang legislation, he or she could be required to provide a DNA sample for comparison with DNA traces left behind at crime scenes. He says these samples would be stored at the Government Forensic Laboratory.

His comments were in response to statements, which he said were made in the media by current head of crime, DCP Carl Williams, who declined to divulge details about police strategies to improve the cleared-up rate.

Shields argues that there is compelling evidence in many jurisdictions across the world that proper DNA analysis can help to improve the cleared-up rate for crimes, especially burglary. Citing the UK Police Foundation Report, he says the normal detection rate for burglary in the UK is 17 per cent, but that the rate increases to 40 per cent with DNA analysis.

He argues further that the DNA legislation, which would establish a national DNA database for the country, would create the foundation for the effective implementation of the anti-gang legislation.

However, in addition to DNA legislation, Shields says the Government should look at improving resources to the Criminal Investigation Branch and improving leadership as well as the management and supervision of investigating officers.

Shields says the police should also look at planting more major investigation taskforces in areas where murder and gun crimes are highest and also look at reinforcing the crime review policy to ensure unsolved crimes are revisited regularly. FOR MORE STORIES WATCH:


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