JO - Deportees still having influence on serious crimes - police
Deportees still having influence on serious crimes - police
LUKE DOUGLAS, Observer writer
Friday, February 03, 2006
DESPITE a drop in the number of persons deported to Jamaica last year, deportees still have significant influence on the levels of serious crimes committed in Jamaica, Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Shields has said.
A total of 3,310 persons were deported last year, 929 less than in 2004. In 2003, a total of 3,940 persons were sent back to Jamaica.
But while many were deported for non-violent offences and are not considered serious threats, others, by their very physical presence, can cause crime rates in a community to skyrocket, Shields said.
"They may be thousands (of deportees) every year but many of those may be drug mules, or 'overstayers', people who have been working abroad without a permit," Shields told the Observer.
"But we are focusing on a very small group who were involved in major organised crimes in Philadelphia, London, Toronto. They are the people who come back to our communities and cause a massive problem," he added.
At present the police keep tabs on deportees through the National Intelligence Bureau. The newly-formed Crime Hotspot Secretariat will also focus on their movements.
Shields said much of the intelligence about deportees is obtained through Jamaica's international partners. However, the United States has been more cooperative than Shields' native United Kingdom.
"The cooperation we get from the United States is very good," he said. But he noted that the United Kingdom was slightly more reticent about giving information. However, he said the matter was being dealt with through the British High Commission in Kingston and the Foreign Office.
"I don't see a major problem," Shields said. He added that names of certain deportees as well as the names of persons involved in criminal activities abroad figured regularly at meetings in crime-prone areas.
"From chairing most of the Hotspot meetings, the names of deportees come up time and time again, but equally so do the names of people in London, New York, who are calling the shots, putting the phone calls to say kill so and so.," Shields said.
In the meantime, Shields said information sharing about activities of dangerous deportees was critical because of the international nature of organised crime.
"It's incredibly important to everything that we do because not only do they have an impact on crime in Jamaica, but equally before they are deported, when they are involved in criminal activities in Philadelphia, Manchester and London which has an impact on those countries as well. So it is in their interest as well as ours that we should share intelligence on Jamaican criminals internationally," said Shields.