Some cops say they are tired of SOEs
Members of the security forces have pushed back against the reimposition of the states of public emergency (SOEs) that were declared by Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday in several parishes.
The prime minister, at a press briefing, said that the Government will continue to utilise the SOEs as a tool to control the wave of crime in targeted areas. The 14-day security measures are in effect in St Ann, Clarendon, St Catherine, St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, Kingston and St Andrew. However, law enforcement officers across the Corporate Area told THE STAR that the SOEs have become an added burden and bring little success.
"Some say it is a deterrent but I honestly don't see it because the reality of the situation is this. Last year our murder figures were less and we didn't have as much declarations," argued one officer. A 13-year veteran said SOEs are only creating low morale on the job and fatigue.
"We a work longer shifts and sometimes man affi wait extra hours fi get release. Certain basic requirements are not being met. We are not eating on time, we are not engaging. I think it would be better if we were afforded less hours to work and be deployed on foot to patrol these 'targeted areas' because driving around on the main roads is not cutting it," said the cop.
A soldier said having members of the army working in the communities daily has had a negative impact.
"We literally become a police officer in their sight. The respect and fear decreases each and every day that we are out here and people can see and hear that persons are still being killed," said the soldier.
Despite various SOEs this year, Jamaica has recorded 1,481 murders between January 1 and December 28, according to statistics from Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson. However, Holness maintained that SOEs work "every time they are implemented".
"The people who are pulling the triggers, who are the murderers, we have intelligence on them, and we have, based upon the powers given in our constitution in the declaration of the use of these emergency powers, the ability to separate them from their communities and interrupt their cycle of life taking," Holness said.
Holness noted that 127 murders were committed last December, but this has been cut by 50 per cent during this corresponding period.
"If you were to analyse that (127 murders), it would mean 1,500 plus murders in a year. That would give you a murder rate of about 56 per 100,000. We couldn't allow that to happen this year," he said.