Mobile cop post coming soon for Sam Sharpe Square

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Sam Sharpe Square, in the centre of this western city, will soon have a mobile police post that will have a holding area for arrests, closed-circuit television (CCTV) system that will help lawmen monitor and zoom in on criminal activities, as well as other amenities typically found in permanent police stations.

According to head of the Area One police, Assistant Commissioner Clifford Chambers, the mobile unit will be rolled out as soon as they have a grip on illegal vending in the city. Both measures are part of the ongoing Operation Restore Paradise.

“… It is up and running but we’re trying to ensure that a certain level of normalcy is restored first, particularly with regards to the vending,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday.

“The vehicle is there, I’ve toured it. It has coverage with regards to CCTV, we can zoom in and pick up a lot of public order issues,” he added.

Sam Sharpe Square was the scene of a Wild West-type shootout between two licensed firearm holders in July. The men could be seen trading bullets as they took cover behind cars in the heavily used area of the city. The incident sent some pedestrians scrambling while others simply looked on. It was widely condemned as an indication of the general disorder in Montego Bay which also includes public passenger vehicle operators and vendors who fail to use designated areas.

The police have steadily insisted that the general disorder in the city and on its clogged streets hamper crime-fighting efforts. Operation Restore Paradise was launched on August 15 to take back the streets.

“It’s been going well, the reviews are excellent,” Chambers said about the operation.

Cabbies are being urged to use car parks, though there has been some pushback about the inadequacy of these facilities, and six business establishments were closed in September after they were found in breach of public health regulations.

The focus now, Chambers stressed, is on the street vendors.

“What we are doing now is working with the municipal corporation to designate certain areas as vending zones and no-vending zones,” he said.

“We are trying to get more resources; don’t know if that will come but we want to make Montego Bay the centre of public order excellence. The issues will be there but we are trying our best to maintain law and order in the city,” Chambers added.

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