Amid criticisms over the current murder wave affecting the country, Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, has asserted that the security forces have been making significant strides in their efforts to disrupt crime, with increased firearm seizures and arrests of illegal gun holders.
Speaking at a police press conference on Tuesday, Anderson reported since the start of 2022, lawmen have arrested and charged 401 persons for illegal possession of firearm, illegal possession of ammunition, or both.
“That’s an average of about 80 such charges every month this year,” he shared.
A total of 320 illegal firearms have been removed from the nation’s streets up to May 31, when compared with the 314 weapons recovered for the similar period in 2021, representing a two per cent increase in firearm seizures.
In addition, the police have seized 6,380 rounds of ammunition when compared to 4,483 seized up to May 31, 2021. This represents a 42 per cent increase in ammunition seizure.
“… In the first six days of June, we have seized 27 firearms during police operations (when) compared with nine last year,” Anderson disclosed.
He noted that “the proliferation of the weapon and the propensity for gunmen” to attack each other, makes it “unlikely” that the police will “intercept every gunman on the way to commit a crime, or as they are about to pull the trigger”.
However, he indicated that, “The one thing we can do is to catch them (the gunmen) and arrest them when they are in possession of the primary tools of crime, which is the gun.”
Citing examples of a number of criminals carrying guns who were intercepted by the police, Anderson pointed to last month’s gun battle on the Edward Seaga (North South) Highway, where St Ann’s Most Wanted Man, Manton Brown, was killed during a confrontation with the police.
He also mentioned last week’s shooting of another wanted man, Odane Christopher, who was also intercepted by the police on the Edward Seaga Highway.
“When they elude us, our intelligence and investigations will allow us to rapidly identify and pursue them,” assured Anderson.
Turning to other successes by the police in other crime areas, Anderson said a number of extradition requests have come for individuals accused of lottery scamming, as well for persons associated with the illicit drug trade, money laundering and sex crimes.
Six persons have been arrested on the request of the United States, and two persons have returned from that country at the request of Jamaica.
Locally, a total of 34 persons named as wanted persons by the police force have been apprehended, Anderson said.
In noting that the whole narrative of citizens losing trust in the police, he claimed that narrative is “a thing of the past”.
“Calls to crime stop increased by 98 percent over last year and engagement on Facebook increased by 156 per cent,” the commissioner informed .
“We have 30,000 new active followers on instagram and 25,000 on Twitter,” stated Anderson.