Business leader calls for more resources to police in Manchester

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce Simone Spence-Johnson is calling for more resources to be given to police in this south-central parish even as there is a drastic increase in serious crimes here.

“We are appealing to the Government to ensure that they [police] get the tools and equipment [including] vehicles that they need to do the job. We will support in whichever way we can as a community and work with the police,” she told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

Last month head of the Manchester police Superintendent Shane McCalla told business leaders that less than half of the police units assigned at that time to the parish were functional.

“…Currently our fleet on books is 44, but active in terms of what we can deploy right now is 20,” McCalla said at a meeting of Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

Reliable sources told the Jamaica Observer that some police units have to be parked when it rains as the air conditioner on those vehicles need repair.

Last week the Ministry of National Security announced that 50 motor vehicles and bikes were handed over to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Spence-Johnson said more resources are needed in Manchester.

“It is a concern that the resources [needed] are not there, but I know it is tight across the board…For us to have effective policing, we have to have the equipment and the necessary tools that they [police] need,” she said.

Statistics from the police show that up to October 1, Manchester has recorded 44 murders since the start of the year when compared to 19 for the corresponding period last year.

The statistics also show Manchester topping the country’s robbery and break-in categories.

Manchester has recorded 86 robberies since the start of the year when compared to 67 for the corresponding period last year.

Manchester recorded a slight reduction in break-ins with 135 reported cases since the start of the year compared to 138 for the corresponding period last year.

The local chamber president, while concerned about the spate of crimes, is optimistic that strategies being used by the police will bring positive results.

“It is an issue of concern for us, because we are citizens in this parish and whatever happens here is going to affect us… We are just hoping that the new strategies that the police are putting in place can help to [capture] the criminals,” she said.

She pointed to the reviving of neighbourhood watches in Manchester as a good move.

“The neighbourhood watches…are trying to pitch in and do what they can in coming together and being their neighbour’s keeper — look at what is happening, look at who are the new people coming into communities. The same thing for businesses. We look out for the people who are beside us in and around the plazas,” said Spence-Johnson.

She added that security services are in high demand in Manchester.

“There are a lot of security companies that are out there now… They have been hiring [a lot], because there is a need for [staff]. Persons have been calling for more protection if they are having an event or if their business place is having a function in the night, so they have been really adamant about that and looking for the necessary services out there,” she said.

Generated by Feedzy