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$30m gun seizures

Published:Saturday | May 31, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Assistant Commissioner of Police Devon Watkis.

Millions in deadly weapons seized since start of the year

Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter

AN ESTIMATED $30 million worth of guns and ammunition have been taken off the streets of Jamaica since the start of the year.

Police data from January 1 to May 24, this year, has shown that 250 firearms and 3,417 rounds of ammunition have been recovered.

And on Thursday of this week, the cops confirmed that another nine guns and more than 1,000 rounds were seized in St Catherine.

A breakdown of the guns confiscated, as indicated by the police statistics, showed that 154 pistols and 37 revolvers were taken off the streets.

Twenty-six homemade weapons were also seized along with 18 rifles, eight sub-machine guns and seven shotguns.

The total of 250 weapons represents a decline from the 273 firearms seized during the same period last year.

However, there was an increase in the number of rounds of ammunition confiscated, as 893 more rounds were seized this year compared to last year.

The police report that 244 persons were arrested for breaching the Firearms Act, an increase of 13 over last year.

Devon Watkis, assistant commissioner of police, told The Gleaner yesterday that the police will not be relenting in their quest to rid the streets of these deadly weapons.

He said greater emphasis is being placed on making the police presence felt in those areas considered troubled.

"It's a combination of things including more and better police presence, the use of science and technology, better investigation along with greater supply of intelligence," Watkis added.

He said these efforts will be sustained throughout the year, and aid in the reduction of the more than 456 shooting incidents since the start of the year.

"All these strategies combined give you a better opportunity to put a dent in the number of shootings," Watkis said.

He said each operation they encounter is now allowing them to refine their approach and the commissioner is fully in support of the cops' efforts.