Superintendent Watson says police corruption is in the minority

No. 63 Monday, March 8, 2010
The issue of corruption amongst policemen in St. James has been in the minority insists Superintendent with responsibility for the division, Merrick Watson.

    He was speaking to a press familiarization that was held at the RID Hotel in Ironshore on Thursday. Watson related to the gathering of media practitioners that since his appointment to the area, he believes that acts of corruption are only associated with a few who continue to give the hard working men and women of St. James a bad name.
    He mentioned, however, that he cannot ignore the fact that there are indeed police personel who are corrupt and he will be taking steps to tackle such instances.
    He pointed out that a wing of the Anti Corruption Branch is to be established in the parish at a date to be announced. The branch will be the first to be established outside of Kingston and will work with the local groups to stamp out corruption. This, he mentioned was in keeping with the move from the country's police force to remove the elements of corruption from within its ranks.
    He was also keen on the fact that his tenure in St. James would be a productive one in dealing with the situation that the parish currently faces. He explained that in dealing with the crime situation, "a number of factors will have to be put in place; however, most cannot be named yet."
    Superintendent Watson is expected to have a hard time as the crime situation in Montego Bay is now at record levels. He also had a weekend that saw over 10 murders and four injuries linked to those situations.
    He said however, that community policing and intelligence gathering would play an important role in getting crime under control. More officers are expected to come into the parish at some later date to be a part of teams that go out into these communities to interact with citizens. Watson, who once was part of the Community Safety and Security Branch understands this and knows that citizens and police need to work together to make St James a better place to live.
    Intelligence gathering would be able to allow the police to make more targeted and informed operations. There are. also plans to deal with the traffic situation in St. James by bringing in a training
team so as to get more traffic police out there to deal with the nightmare. There is however a hold up as a place to house the trainers has not yet been determined.
    He mentioned, however, that a major problem in the fight to stem crime is the location of most of these communities that come under the microscope. "The large number of unstructured communities creates a policing nightmare as they are usually located in areas that are hard to access," he lamented. These communities he pointed out have a number of corners and crevices that allow for criminals to hide easily.
    He also spoke to the fact that following a meeting with the business community, he feels that he has their support.
    They however have their complaints that he will seek to address that falls mostly in the form of harassment especially in the tourist areas, where some persons hassle tourists. This too he has put on his agenda and will be striving to deal with there problems.
    "We have to work in partnership with the various stakeholders so has to get results," Watson explained.

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