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JCF: Curfews important for crime prevention

Published:Thursday | June 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM

In the face of concerns from sections of society over the use of curfews as part of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) crime-fighting strategy, Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams is defending the practice, while calling for understanding from the public.

In a release yesterday, Williams said he acknowledged that the issues raised are pertinent and real but gave the reassurance that moving forward, "everything will be done to ensure that the relationship between the police and the citizens is preserved and their rights are upheld at all times".

Stated the release: "Careful note was made of citizen feedback and lessons learnt from past operations."

Noted social anthropologist and violence researcher Dr Herbert Gayle described a recently imposed curfew in the West Kingston Police Division as pathetic, pointing to research he conducted that questions the effectiveness and sustainability of curfews.

But while the effectiveness of curfews is being questioned, the police hierarchy said such strategies have their place in policing the most challenging communities, where such an intervention is seen as crucial to fighting crime.

"Curfews have their place and have been used in the past successfully to combat lawlessness in certain communities," said Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, the communications officer for the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

"For a long time, the JCF did not use curfew as a strategy, but we have learnt from the past that these curfews will not, on their own, bring the desired level of success. So there are other plans in place to complement these in order to gain success," she said.

Curfews will be undertaken in exceptional circumstances, the release said, adding that the High Command would ensure that the police use of force and the public-interaction policies are strictly enforced.