Po­lice launch new pub­lic-or­der op­er­a­tion in mar­ket district COPS TAR­GET DOWN­TOWN KINGSTON

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS PLUS - Corey Robin­son Staff Re­porter

As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner As­san Thomp­son ex­plains the plan to take back the streets of down­town Kingston to a group of wor­ship­pers at Parade in down­town Kingston last Thurs­day.

THE PO­LICE have vowed to take back the streets of down­town Kingston fol­low­ing an up­surge in law­less­ness in the mar­ket district in re­cent weeks.

As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner As­san Thomp­son – who heads the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force’s Area Four, which in­cludes Kingston East, Kingston Cen­tral, Kingston West, St An­drew South and St An­drew Cen­tral po­lice di­vi­sions – last week an­nounced that in ad­di­tion to tack­ling the gang­sters head-on, the cops will in­cor­po­rate a pub­lic-or­der ap­proach.

“We have seen the need to deal with pub­lic or­der and pub­lic safety as a high pri­or­ity, and so we have in­dexed a high level of im­por­tance to the main­te­nance of pub­lic or­der and pub­lic safety,” Thomp­son said, as he led a team from Har­man Bar­racks on South Camp Road to down­town Kingston last Thurs­day.

“We be­lieve that if pub­lic or­der is bro­ken down in these pub­lic spa­ces, the crim­i­nals will get greater op­por­tu­nity to com­mit crimes. While we deal with crime as the end re­sult of some­thing that has gone wrong, we are go­ing to look at what is giv­ing rise to the prob­lem. We are go­ing out there this morn­ing to se­ri­ously look at how we main­tain pub­lic or­der and pub­lic safety,” added Thomp­son

Last Thurs­day’s op­er­a­tion started at 11 a.m. and tar­geted the usual sus­pects: il­le­gal ven­dors, il­le­gal taxi op­er­a­tors, ‘loader men’, rob­bers, ex­tor­tion­ists, and any­one else who could not ac­count for their pur­pose at

The peo­ple are not talk­ing to the po­lice. You will stand right here and hear four shots fire around the road, and by the time you leave and go around there, peo­ple say you a id­iot be­cause the man walk past you.

the bus ter­mi­nus in Parade, as well as Beck­ford and Pe­chon streets and their en­vi­rons.

Less than half an hour into the op­er­a­tion, a po­lice mini­van was half-filled with men deemed fit­ting the de­scrip­tion of sus­pects.

At other lo­ca­tions, po­lice teams car­ried out searches, di­rected traf­fic, and ex­plained the rea­sons for the op­er­a­tion to pedes­tri­ans.

Their ex­pla­na­tion, how­ever, did not go down well with a group of Chris­tian wor­ship­pers hud­dled un­der the ‘Big Tree’ on Orange Street. There, the of­fi­cers’ pres­ence was re­buked by the wor­ship­pers, as a group of hig­glers lam­basted them for the im­promptu op­er­a­tion.

Such po­lice pub­lic-or­der op­er­a­tions are not new to down­town Kingston. Late last year, head of the Traf­fic Di­vi­sion, Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Calvin Allen, and then head of Kingston Cen­tral, Su­per­in­ten­dent Michael Scott, launched sim­i­lar ini­tia­tives and promised equal re­sults.

But ac­cord­ing to Thomp­son, this time will be dif­fer­ent.

IAN ALLEN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Po­lice of­fi­cers on foot pa­trol in down­town Kingston last week.

IAN ALLEN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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