Ja police service goes west

The demand for police service vehicles in western Jamaica is to be eased soon, as several newly-procured patrol cars are to be assigned to this region.

Karl Angell, the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s director of communications, said about 30 patrol cars will be sent to Area One, which serves the parishes of St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland and Trelawny.

Mr. Angell said the new vehicles for the west were among a batch of over 70 recently acquired, and may be dispatched as early as this week.

“All the divisions in area one are short of transport. However. St. James and Westmoreland are the two divisions where we have a crime problem,” said Superintendent John Morris, operations officer for the Area One.

“I think though that the assessment of needs will be done from headquarters as they would also have an appreciation as to where the problems are.”

Yesterday, personnel from the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force were observed at the Elletson Road Police Station in Kingston installing sirens and other fixtures to some of the new cars.

Six of the 11 new patrol cars seen on the compound were destined for the St. James division, which recorded 178 murders last year. A total of 132 murders were reported in the parish for 2005. There were 55 killings in Westmoreland, last year, compared to 46 in 2005.

“The proximity to St. James is a factor to our crime situation, because when the police pressure comes on in Montego Bay, criminals are flushed into Westmoreland,” said Superintendent Dezeita Taylor, commanding officer for that parish, at a Gleaner Editors’ Forum in December. “We have to … include border blocks to try and stem the flow of itinerant criminals,” she said at the forum.

Deputy Superintendent Rudolph Taylor also highlighted the urgent need for patrol vehicles in St. James at the Editors Forum.

“Resources are woeful especially in the area of mobility,” said the officer, who highlighted a lack of motor vehicles as being chief among their resource problems.

At the time, he said only one vehicle was assigned to the St. James Crime Investigation Bureau, to which 50 policemen and women were assigned.

In recent months, the division has experienced a surge in serious crimes, namely murders and shootings. In response, Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas deployed several Kingston-based units to St. James.