Fri | Jan 15, 2021

Commish vows to turn up heat on gangsters

Published:Thursday | December 3, 2020 | 12:22 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Police Commissioner Antony Anderson.
Police Commissioner Antony Anderson.

Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson has said that with the country seeing an uptick in gang-related homicides and shootings, the security forces will be intensifying efforts to dismantle criminal organisations.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the commissioner pointed out that as more high-level gangsters were being arrested, a younger generation of thugs were battling for power, leaving a trail of slaughter as many families mourn.

He said that even the relatives of some of these gangsters were being maimed or murdered, pointing to a chilling triple murder in Tryall Heights, St Catherine, last month when thugs said to be looking for a male relative killed an 81-year-old woman and her two granddaughters.

“We are seeing an uptick in inter- and intra-gang killings and shootings even as our anti-gang strategies reap success. You find that as we incarcerate gang leaders and members, new people fight each other to gain dominance of the gang and this has led to a few killings, especially of gang members. We have also seen killings and reprisals,” Anderson said. “We have also seen where these gangland killings and reprisals have extended beyond gang members.”

He said that with the support of the army, the Jamaica Constabulary Force was taking a multiunit approach to crippling gangs.

“Each division has proactive investigation units that target gangs, while C-TOC’s (Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch) anti-gang unit targets larger gangs that require more specialised targeting,” the commissioner said.

“A number of joint operations have led to the capture of gang members and have led to the recovery of weapons by the Specialised Operations Branch, C-TOC, and the Jamaica Defence Force,” he added.

Anderson said that going forward, the security forces would be targeting key areas and routes frequented by gangsters in a bid to collar them.

He appealed to the public for its patience during this period.

“Some of these activities may create some delay. We have seen in recent times, at illegal parties and gatherings, shootings and other violent acts. As we approach Christmas, there are mounting concerns about robberies, and a special anti-robbery initiative focusing on shopping and commercial areas [is] ... already under way,” he said.