Wed | Dec 6, 2023

Cops reviewing Sav ZOSO strategies after teen’s murder

Published:Saturday | July 2, 2022 | 12:08 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer

The Westmoreland police are to review strategies used within the boundaries of the zone of special operations (ZOSO) in sections of parish capital Savanna-la-Mar following the murder of a 17-year-old boy in the area on Thursday.

The deceased has been identified as Jayre Francis, otherwise called ‘Jay’ of Ricketts Street in Savanna-la-Mar.

According to reports, shortly after 3:15 a.m., residents of Ricketts Street alerted the police after hearing a barrage of gunshots.

Upon their arrival, cops discovered a lifeless Francis lying beside a house in pool of blood, with multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body.

A number of .40 and 9mm spent shells were recovered at the scene.

Senior Superintendent Wayne Josephs, head of the Westmoreland Police Division, described the killing as most unfortunate, noting that it was the first such incident taking place within the boundaries of the ZOSO since it was implemented in January.

“ ... We have now completed six months since the establishment, and since that, up until [Thursday], we had not had one single murder in that space, which is a testament that the zone is working,” Josephs told The Gleaner. “Prior to the zone being established, that area ... was the hottest area in the parish, and I believe that up until this time last year, we would have had over 13 murders in the area where the zone was established.”

He said that his team would be assessing strategies to see whether there are gaps to address.

“We are currently trying to review and assess what might have gone wrong, what might have happened. It is not every time that there is an issue within a space that we are gonna be calling for added or increased resources,” said Josephs. “Sometimes all it needs is for a review and an assessment, and a realignment or redeployment of the assets that you have, to see to it that they are properly utilised ... . It’s early days yet, and we may have to change some of the tactics that we have.”

The senior cop said that despite the now-blotched record, residents in the area have been expressing confidence in the initiative since it was implemented, saying that they feel safer in the space and can move about more freely.