Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has announced a State of Public Emergency for the St. Catherine North Police Division due to a high rate of crime in the area.
In making the announcement yesterday Prime Minister Holness says the enhanced security measures will initially run for two weeks.
This is the second State of Public Emergency declared since the start of the year, following a similar announcement for the Parish of St. James in January.
Prime Minister Holness says under the State of Public Emergency, members of the security forces will have enhanced powers to tackle crime.
However, he says these powers cannot be arbitrary and aren’t beyond review.
Along with the two States of Emergency, there are currently two Zones of Special Operations, ZOSOs, in Mount Salem, St. James and Denham Town in West Kingston.
When asked whether the security forces are being stretched too thin, Prime Minister Holness says the government will ensure resources and manpower are carefully and efficiently managed across the country.
He was accompanied by National Security Minister, Robert Montague; Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck; JDF Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade; Incoming Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Clifford Blake.
Meanwhile, Deputy Police Commissioner, Clifford Blake, says the high rate of murders and gang violence were the driving factors in recommending a State of Public Emergency for the St. Catherine North Police Division.
Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, DCP Blake says the Police division has seen a year on year increase in murders.
He says special focus will be placed on the areas of Spanish Town, Linstead and Bogwalk. He also says the notorious Clansman Gang which operates in St Catherine has also been wreaking havoc on a number of other parishes.
DCP Blake says a list of most wanted persons in the area will be published in short order.