Police commissioner promises measures to tackle violence against women

The police are set to roll out a set of measures that they hope will help reduce acts of violence against women, according to Major General Antony Anderson.

General Anderson, who is the police commissioner, did not elaborate on the measures, offering only that they will be made public in another week. He also issued a direct message to criminals that the police will apprehend them, as the constabulary is experiencing an improved relationship with the public who are growing increasingly outraged by the violent acts being committed against citizens.

“We’re coming out in about a week or so with a series of measures that not only we can take, but members of the society can take, women can take, and we’re also doing some work on sensitising people to some of the nuances of dealing with these situations,” General Anderson told journalists on Friday in Spanish Town as he visited major commercial areas to observe public compliance with the Government’s COVID-19 lockdown to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus.

The police, he said, are always concerned about crime in general, particularly gruesome crimes and crimes against women. “We are probably more concerned than most people because we actually see those persons who have been killed. We’re the only ones who see them every time; see the effects on people of these criminals,” he said.

He argued that technology has allowed acts of violence and crime to be transmitted to people quickly, especially via social media, thus creating “a lot of fear… even though violence against women is reducing”.

However, the police, he insisted, are now apprehending suspects more quickly.

“As you see, they do it, we’re after them, we get them, there’s no large time lapse… and part of that has been the kind of support we’ve been getting from the public,” the commissioner said.

“We have an outraged public and that outrage needs to be focused on the criminals who are [committing crimes],” he added.

He commended the men and women under his command, noting their dedication to duty.

“I have seen situations where officers come off duty and just go back on immediately, so that’s the kind of dedication,” he said.

Anderson also vowed that the police will be on the streets, particularly over the long lockdown period, to prevent criminal action. “Our pledge to Jamaica, and certainly my own is that there is no effort that I’ll spare personally to change the situation in Jamaica,” he said.

In relation to public compliance with the lockdown, which mandated no movement for all of Friday, Anderson said: “Largely people are complying, and I think it’s because the seriousness of the situation has hit home. I think the measures are balanced in terms of trying to protect us but also allowing some things to happen. I really have to thank the public for complying with the measures.”

The lockdown will also see two full days Sunday and Monday of no movement and a half day after midday Saturday.

In the 24 hours leading up to last Thursday, the Ministry of Health and Wellness reported 424 new cases of COVID-19. That brought the total number of cases to 39,967 since the island reported its first case on March 11, 2020. Of that number, 17,861 people have recovered and 607 have died.

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