Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, inspects the guard at the Jamaica Police Academy, where 195 new members were added to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). JIS Photo
By Garfield L. Angus
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Minister of national security, Peter Bunting, has reported a downward trend in murders and other crimes in Jamaica, even as he calls for community partnerships to sustain the drop.
Speaking to journalists last week at the Jamaica Police Academy, when 195 new members were added to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the minister noted that for the first quarter of 2014, murders were down by 12 percent; all serious and violent crimes, down 13 percent; and accusatory crimes, 15 percent.
“We are encouraged; we are making a little headway on the crime control side, in terms of police operations, and we are also emphasising the engagement of the community,” the minister said.
Bunting cited peace marches that he has been involved with, as one factor that is building confidence in communities to work with the police and other stakeholders, to prevent violence, and expose criminals.
“I want to acknowledge the role of the church for providing leadership in many of the communities and taking on violence prevention. If we can see that become a national movement, and take root, I am confident that we are going to see the continued improvement in the crime statistics,” the minister said.
Bunting warned persons who seek to intimidate witnesses to crimes, and journalists who carry out their functions in reporting on the crimes, that they can be charged and convicted under the new anti-gang law.
“It is not just an offence as it used to be,” he pointed out.
“Under the anti-gang legislation, which is now in effect, there are very serious penalties for persons attempting to intimidate witnesses; and the police are going to bring the full force of the law in seeking them out, and prosecuting them,” the minister said.