KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday January 5, 2017 – Haunted by a murder toll of more than 1,300 murders last year, Jamaica’s National Security Minister Robert Montague warned “it won’t be business as usual” as he rolled out a raft of hard-hitting measures to beat the country’s crime scourge.
Strong legislation, new police vehicles and other equipment, and an expansion of the country’s Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) network are among the new anti-crime tools.
“Dutty criminal going to run weh,” a tough-talking Montague declared, as reported by the Jamaica Observer.
“This is the year when changes are going to come. It is the year when we are going to confront some things, talk some truths and make some people uncomfortable. We are going to disrupt some criminal forces,” he said while addressing the annual devotion service of the Jamaica Constabulary Force yesterday.
A major target is reducing the high level of gun crime and Montague revealed an overhaul of the Firearms Act that provides for stiffer penalties.
“Whenever you take up a gun, you are going to spend a long, long, long time [in prison],” he warned.
In additional, greater scrutiny will be paid to the island’s 40,000 licensed firearm holders who will be held more accountable for the ammunition they are allotted every year, under changes being made to the Firearms Act.
“We have 40,000 licensed firearm holders in this country and each of them gets 50 rounds per year. Fifty times 40,000, that’s two million rounds. If 10 per cent get into illegal hands, that’s a dangerous amount,” Montague underscored. “The police have to account for every bullet that they have. The private firearm holder is going to be required to do the same.”
Authorities are also hoping to make it harder for criminals to hide by boosting the CCTV network technology already operational in four towns.
“We are also going to be establishing a national backroom so that private persons with CCTVs can send in their feed to the police and we are going to put in a video analytic suite so that we can do facial recognition, geo-fencing and licence plate reading, so that you can know when last you see a man and where him turn up and what he was wearing,” the National Security Minister added.
Law enforcers are in line to get 200 more vehicles, as well as two new boats. Montague further revealed that Jamaica will get a new surveillance plane later in the year to tighten security along the coastline.