Christmas will see an additional 400-500 police personnel on the streets, under the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s seasonal redeployment.
Speaking yesterday at a JCF press conference at the Police Officers’ Club on Hope Road, St. Andrew, Deputy Commissioner of Police Linval Bailey warned the public to be vigilant and obey the law during a period that yearly sees an increase in crime.
DCP Bailey said that Christmas shoppers provide opportunities for robbers and pickpockets, while seasonal drinking increases the likelihood for aggressive behaviour, and also with increased traffic, increased vehicular accidents. He singled out the 15 per cent increase in fatal collisions and 17 per cent increase in fatalities on last year’s figures.
“Our wish is for everyone to enjoy the season and be alive and well after it has passed,” he said. “We therefore implore Jamaicans and our visitors alike to employ moderation in the consumption of alcohol. Do not display large sums of money, be very observant and aware of your surroundings, and report suspicious activities, behaviour and individuals to the police as soon as possible.”
He also warned parents and guardians of the penalties under the Child Care and Protection Act for neglecting children during the period.
The JCF brought forward the redeployment by one month to November 9 in response to a rise in murder and serious crimes in recent months.
Officers will be gradually deployed ahead of Christmas and the New Year as they are removed from administrative duties; leave and training suspended; court staff redeployed; and in some cases, hours increased. The Jamaica Defence Force will also extend its foot patrols in troubled communities.
Plain-clothes police will be deployed around areas vulnerable to robbery, including gas stations, shopping plazas and banks.
One policeman who would normally not be on regular police duties is Sgt. Jubert Llewellyn of the Constabulary Communication Network, a familiar face to television viewers. However, the redeployment is welcomed by officers, as keeping them in touch with basic policing, said Sgt. Llewellyn.