Bailey: Victims’ rights take priority over criminals’
DCP notes likelihood for gangsters to reoffend on bail
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Fitz Bailey has said that it is time other arms of the criminal justice system shoulder more of the crime-fighting responsibility as the police redouble efforts to cool the country’s simmering crime monster....
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Fitz Bailey has said that it is time other arms of the criminal justice system shoulder more of the crime-fighting responsibility as the police redouble efforts to cool the country’s simmering crime monster.
Amid a one-per-cent reduction in the overall crime figure, but a 5.3 per cent year-on-year increase in homicides, Bailey said oftentimes too much of the weight rests on the police in tackling crime.
Some 634 murders were recorded between January 1 and June 6.
Bailey, who is in charge of the crime portfolio within the Jamaica Constabulary Force, said emphasis must be placed on a joined-up approach involving the entire criminal justice system to gain a foothold on crime.
He said that it is important that the judiciary, police, and penal system understand their roles and what needs to be done.
“We have to look at each of these arms and identify the gaps and seek to address them collectively,” Bailey told The Gleaner on Thursday.
“If we don’t take that approach, we’re not going to get the desired result. There has to be that joined-up and collective approach to addressing the issue. Look at legislation, too, and where there are gaps, those gaps need to be addressed,” he said.
He pointed to the ongoing discourse about a proposal to amend the Bail Act, to include denying bonds to persons charged with murder.
On Tuesday, Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte told the House of Representatives that, in addition to persons on murder charges, those who are charged with firearms offences could be denied bail under the proposed legislation.
“My view is that if you’re a gangster and you go before the court and you are granted bail, you still remain a gangster. One can make the assumption that once you come out, you’re going to engage in gangster-type activities,” Bailey asserted.
He said that a separate case can be made where two people have an interpersonal conflict, and, out of anger, one commits a serious crime against the other.
He said that it is unlikely a person charged under those circumstances and granted bail will use the opportunity to commit another offence.
“I just got a document today (Thursday) in Westmoreland alone, where 30 people who are before the court are people who were charged for serious crimes before and went back and recommitted,” Bailey told The Gleaner.
“These are some of the challenges that we are faced with. Often, we pay a lot of focus on the rights of criminals, but the rights of the victims of crime we do not emphasise,” he added.
He said the police have front-row seats to the agony experienced by the families of victims and argued that their rights above everything else must take priority.
“While we believe that everybody has a right, I’m saying that if you have an illegal gun, by virtue of you carrying that gun, you have impacted on your own right to be out there walking among decent people. So, if you don’t want your right to be restricted, don’t carry an illegal gun. It’s as simple as that,” he reasoned.