St. Ann among 3 police divisions placed under SOEs
St. Ann is among three police divisions which have been placed under States of Emergency, SOEs.
The other divisions are Clarendon and Kingston Western.
The SOEs follow a surge in criminal activities in the three areas.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness who made the announcement this morning said Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen declared the SOEs on the advice of the Commissioner of Police and the Chief of Defence Staff for an initial period of 14 days beginning at midnight on February 15.
Mr. Holness said the government’s main priority is to use all lawful and constitutional measures to protect the lives of innocent citizens.
Meantime, Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson has further explained why the three divisions were placed under SOEs.
He said the Kingston Western Police division had the highest number of murders and shooting incidents across all police divisions, with a total of 17 murders and 12 shooting incidents recorded from January 1 to February 10, this year.
He said this is a 31 per cent increase in murders and 20 per cent in shooting incidents when compared to the similar period in 2022, during which 13 murders and 10 shooting incidents were recorded.
For St. Ann, Commissioner Anderson said although the division had 50 per cent fewer murders last month than in January 2022, this 50 per cent reduction was reversed with a 22 per cent increase in murders as at February 11, this year, with the year-to-date figure moving from 9 to 11 murders.
He added that when gun murders in St. Ann are tallied separately, 3 murders were recorded in January this year and 6 were recorded within the first two weeks of February; a 100 per cent increase in gun murders in half the time.
The commissioner said this shows that the St. Ann division is of concern.
And as for Clarendon, it had the third highest number of murders across all police divisions, with a total of 15 murders, and 4 shooting incidents from January 1 to February 12.
This is the highest increase among all police divisions in both murders and shooting incidents; with murders up 200 per cent and shootings up 100 per cent.
The government says the declaration of states of public emergency will allow the security forces to carry out targeted operations to disrupt and dismantle criminal gangs and their networks and prevent the occurrence of serious crimes.