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'We need more cops'

Published:Monday | February 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Rasbert Turner, Gleaner Writer

THE POLICE in Old Harbour, St Catherine, are desperate for an increase in their numbers, as they struggle to deal with the rising crime rate in the town.

Currently, 35 police personnel are stationed in Old Harbour, which is home to an estimated 53,000 people. That is an average of one cop to approximately 1,500 residents.

"With the best of intentions, there is a disparity between the police personnel and those they serve," Superintendent Marlon Nesbeth declared at a recent community meeting at the Old Harbour Courthouse.

Nesbeth, who heads the St Catherine South Police Division which includes the Old Harbour Police Station, argued that residents have to help the police in the anti-crime drive.

"We need all the cooperation we can get to solve the crime problems in the Old Harbour communities," said Nesbeth.

A budding problem

The plea by the police for more men and women at the Old Harbour station was echoed by residents who argued that while the police were doing a good job, more needed to be done to arrest a budding problem.

"We have noticed an increase in the number of underage girls that are involved in prostitution in the town. They are often under the supervision of older persons. We cannot allow it to continue," the Reverend Winston Wilkins, chairman of the Old Harbour Ministers' Fraternal, told the meeting.

Nesbeth promised that the police would be doing all in their power to deal with the prosecution, but noted the inadequate number of cops made the job tougher.

The insufficient number of police in Old Harbour and across the island has not escaped the attention of National Security Minister Dwight Nelson, who recently addressed the matter during his State of the Nation presentation in the Senate.