KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday June 14, 2017 – With a record number of 628 murders so far this year, including 54 homicides in one week, Jamaica’s top cop is deploying security officers to crime hotspots to arrest the recent spate of crime.
Police Commissioner George Quallo told reporters the situation is frightening, as he reported that the figures so far this year include 45 killings which claimed 100 lives.
“There were 37 double murders, six triple murders and two quadruple murders. This underscores a high level of wantonness and brutality,” the police commissioner lamented.
Quallo, who took office just last month, pointed out that most of the bloodshed was happening in volatile communities and he blamed gangs for more than half of the murders.
But he says the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will be stepping up its enforcement of anti-gun and gang legislation and the special powers provision legislation as it mounts an all-out offensive in troubled communities.
“This will allow for cordons and searches, curfews and detentions for preventative and investigative purposes,” he underscored.
But even as the JCF launched its new offensive, the Police Commissioner suggested the judicial system had to get its act together.
He bemoaned that while police were successfully completing their investigations and getting witnesses to testify at trial, it was taking as long as seven years for some matters to be ventilated before the law courts.
“If this trend continues, the 967 persons we arrested for murder last year and the 284 we arrested up to June 10 this year are not likely to face trial until 2024,” Quallo lamented, noting that this often led to cases being dismissed.
“During the wait, majority of the accused may be granted bail and are then better able to influence witnesses, whether with violence or bribes. Interest will naturally wane. Unfortunately, in the end, majority of these suspects will not be convicted,” he said.