Hundreds of police and soldiers are now in sections of Mount Salem in St. James, which is the country’s first zone of special operations.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the declaration during an emergency media conference shortly before 11:00 this morning.

The security forces moved into Mount Salem in the wee hours of this morning.

Hours before Prime Minister Holness told a Jamaica House media conference that he’s declared the area the first Zone of Special Operations.

The Prime Minister gave details on army and police personnel who’ve been appointed joint commanders in Mount Salem.

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The zone of special operations law is based on the principles of Clear, Hold and Build approach to crime fighting.

Under the “Clear” Principle – law enforcement will be given special powers to saturate high crime areas.

The Prime Minister says the administration has designated personnel to be in charge of the social intervention aspect of the operations.

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The zone of special operation in Mount Salem is to last for 60 days.

Prime Minister Holness says he’ll provide an update in Parliament about the zone within two weeks. He also told the Jamaica House media conference that more zones will be announced in short order.

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Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness and leaders of the security forces today noted that Mount Salem was chosen as the first zone, because over the past few years it’s been one of the highest crime areas in the country.

The JCF’s Deputy Commissioner in Charge of Operations, Clifford Blake, says 54 persons have been cut down in Mount Salem so far this year.

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DCP Blake says gunmen have also traded bullets regularly this year in Campbell’s Lane, Pigott Street, Katon Lane, Coffee Lane, and Smart Street.

Shortly after the media conference, Prime Minister Holness told our news center that these factors played a significant part in the selection of Mount Salem as the country’s first zone of special operations.

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Meanwhile, JDF Chief of Defense Staff, Major General Rocky Meade, also addressed the Jamaica House media briefing. He provided details about boundaries of the zone.

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