Gang feuds still fuelling murders in Jamaica despite over 400 arrests | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Up to 72 per cent of murders committed in Jamaica in 2021 and so far for 2022 have been attributed to inter- and intra-gang feuds, available data show.

The country’s murder rate has remained high despite the efforts of the police, which have seen hundreds of gangsters arrested, charged and placed before the courts.

The information is contained in the Commissioner’s Report for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), which covers January 2021 to April 2022. A copy of the report was tabled in the Parliament on Wednesday.

In providing an update on the response of the JCF to the country’s high homicide rate, the report outlined: “As we advanced our efforts in investigating and prosecuting gangsters and gangs as a whole, since 2020, we have arrested and placed before the courts, 412 [alleged] gangsters.”

The report also noted that earlier this year, the closely watched trial of the notorious Spanish Town-based Clansman Gang got underway.

Initially, 53 alleged members of the criminal organisation were arrested, but only 33 went on trial. Several of them have since been freed as the Crown has failed to prove its case against them.

The alleged gangsters are being tried under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act.

“Additionally, we disrupted the activities of a Clarendon-based gang, Ranko Gang, which also featured the involvement of police officers. Eleven [alleged] members of the gang are awaiting trial,” the report added.

The report also pointed to the work of the Joint Anti-Gang Task Force, which focuses on guns, gunmen and gangs. The Joint Anti-gang Task Force was officially launched in February this year to bring greater synergy to the JCF and Jamaica Defence Force’s joint operations by producing a highly trained, professional cadre of police and military personnel tasked with seizing illegal guns, capturing gunmen, disrupting gangs, and deterring gang activities.

“The launch was a culmination of significant work over a two-year period, to ensure the right people were identified and trained, as well as to ensure adequate resourcing to facilitate the agile responses necessary in a high violence environment.

“The task force, in collaboration with other formations such as the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigations Branch, the Lottery Scam Task Force and the local police, has been very successful in realising its mandate,” said the report.

It said that in its first week of operation, the task force seized seven illegal guns and up to April 2022, seized 20 illegal guns and captured 14 wanted persons.