Cops set up unit to focus on praedial larceny in Trelawny

FALMOUTH, Trelawny — The Trelawny police have announced the establishment of a praedial larceny unit, which will, as of Monday, seek to stem theft that continues to plague farmers in the parish.

The four-member unit, which is to be headed by a police sergeant, will be based at the Ulster Spring Police Station and will predominantly operate in the farming communities of southern Trelawny, but will have responsibility for the entire parish.

Trelawny is one of a number of farming parishes perennially affected by high incidence of praedial larceny.

“We recognise that for persons in the Trelawny division, particularly south Trelawny, agriculture is predominantly their source of income. We recognise that as a law enforcement agency, we have a responsibility to protect these hard-working farmers. As a result, the unit will be up and running Monday of next week,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Winston Milton, head of operations for the Trelawny Police Division, announced at the meeting of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation yesterday.

“Members [of the team] have already been selected,” he added.

Courtney Taylor, parish manager of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, who had earlier highlighted the farmers’ woes, welcomed the news.

“Mr Chairman [Councillor C Junior Gager], we have been having issues with praedial larceny for quite some time. We have seen, in recent times, that it is becoming more prevalent. And I must say that both crops and livestock farmers in this parish are affected.

“In recent times, Mr Chairman, we have been getting a lot of reports about the loss of cattle, goats, and sheep we don’t have much sheep in the parish,” Taylor said.

Last year, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw promised a review of the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit (PLPU) to make it more effective in reducing farm thefts.

Speaking to agricultural stakeholders at the 64th Hague Agricultural Show in Trelawny, Shaw noted that if the PLPU needs beefing up and more resources, action will be taken.

The PLPU is a collaboration between the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of National Security aimed at curtailing the theft of agricultural produce across Jamaica. It makes provisions for the appointment of agricultural wardens to engage and assist farmers in an effort to prevent the theft of agricultural produce and livestock.

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