March 16, 2013
Commuters call for more security at transport centre
A bus leaves the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre as commuters flood the hub during rush hour. - File
Diandra Grandison, Star Writer
"More security" is the cry being made by some commuters who use the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre on a regular basis.
A few weeks ago, it was reported that a pervert in the bus park allegedly accosted a young boy, when help was sought it was reported that security was not at the scene.
In light of this, THE STAR visited the bus park recently to get passenger's thoughts on the level of security at the transport centre.
"I think they need more security, especially since fights are regular occurrences here," a 15-year-old passenger told THE STAR.
Another passenger said, " I saw someone get stabbed downstairs already, sometime last year. They need more police to stand around."
Portmore commuter Hazel said, "I feel safe, I don't fear, I trust in God. I've never witnessed it, but I've heard of crimes being committed in here."
THE STAR spoke with a representative from the Transport Centre Police Post, which falls under the Half-Way-Tree Police Station. The post is located on the top floor of the bus park. The officer shared some of the activities that occur at the bus park.
"Things that occur here are placed in two categories, major offences and minor offences. Major offences such as robbery are taken to the Half-Way Tree Police Station while minor offences, which mainly occur with students, are dealt with here."
The police officer was quick to add, "no form of illegal activity takes place upstairs, the police post is located there and so criminals are afraid to do anything up here. All illegal activities take place downstairs."
The officer told THE STAR that a team of 35 security personnel comprising members from the police force and the Port Security Corps is responsible for protecting the bus park.
But the officer stated that this number is not enough, because of the number of persons who use the facility on a regular basis.
"We need more security because of the magnitude of students and passengers who come here, especially since it's coming on to Champs, Thirty-five is just not enough."
At the moment, according to the officer, there are 15 police officers at the Transport Centre Police Depot and 20 security officers from the Port Security Corps.
The officer also told THE STAR that, because of the shortage of security personnel, they are unable to perform their duties effectively.
"If we had more persons, we could better monitor outside the transport centre. As you may have noticed, there tends to be vendors and persons offering cash for gold out there. We do remove them from time to time, but because of the magnitude of the crowd inside the bus park, it's difficult to do both," he said.
When THE STAR asked the officer for some security tips for persons who use the bus park, he suggested:
"When going on the lower level, keep bags close to you, look around and be mindful of those behind you.
Don't trust anyone, and be mindful when rushing and pushing to get into buses."