906 detained under western Jamaica SOE, including two alleged gang leaders
Danae Hyman, Online Reporter
Two alleged gang leaders were among 906 persons detained under the state of public emergency in Westmoreland, St James, and Hanover for the period April 30 to June 29.
Data obtained by The Gleaner from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) indicate that 515 persons were detained in St James, 154 in Westmoreland, and 237 in Hanover.
Of those detained in St James, seven persons were arrested in relation to murders and shootings.
A similar number of persons were arrested in Westmoreland, and there were three such cases in Hanover.
Additionally, the data show that four persons, including three alleged gang members, have been charged with various offences.
During the period, a total of 811 detainees were released after processing.
Meanwhile, the JCF data indicate that a total of 19 firearms were seized during the period.
Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson, addressing a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week Thursday, indicated that the security forces have made strides in improving detention facilities and processes.
"We have upgraded facilities for some of the places over the time where we are holding people. The point is, we police with consent to the public, so anything that the public is dissatisfied with, we have to find solutions, and we have to make it better," Anderson said.
He lauded the state of public emergency and the zones of special operations as critical tools that have had high rates of success in reducing crime.
"We need to brand, and we need to own this because it works, and it works in a way that we haven't seen anything else globally work in terms of rapidly reducing violence," he said.
"We are constantly refining it because if we throw it away, believe me, someone is going to take it up, package it, and sell it to us for a lot of money," Anderson added.
He continued, "People are coming from UN (the United Nations), and, most recently, someone from a county in south Atlanta, the one that has Atlanta Airport (the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport), was out here, and that's what they are asking about because they want to look at their own circumstance and look how they can apply it to something similar," the police commissioner said.
Meanwhile, a state of public emergency was announced for the St Andrew South division on Sunday by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Persons detained under SOE:
* St James: 515
* Westmoreland: 154
* Hanover: 237
Persons arrested for murder and shooting under SOE:
* St James: 7
* Westmoreland: 7
* Hanover: 3
Persons released from detention:
* St James: 465
* Westmoreland: 124
* Hanover: 222
Firearms recovered under SOE:
* St James: 11
* Westmoreland: 6 (one homemade)
* Hanover: 2