wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07KINGSTON1250
2007-08-14 19:17:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kingston
Cable title:  

JAMAICA: CRIME STATISTICS TRENDING IN THE WRONG

Tags:   SANR  PREL  ASEC  JM 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0028
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKG #1250/01 2261917
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 141917Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5180
INFO RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L KINGSTON 001250 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INL/LP BOZZOLO, BROWN, FOR WHA/CAR
AND FOR DS/IP/WHA AND DS/IP/ITA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/03/2017
TAGS: SANR PREL ASEC JM
SUBJECT: JAMAICA: CRIME STATISTICS TRENDING IN THE WRONG
DIRECTION, BUT ONLY MINOR LINKS TO UPCOMING ELECTIONS

REF: KINGSTON 1237

Classified By: NAS Director A.Lewis for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)



1. (C) Summary: NAS Director and RSO met with Deputy
Commissioner of Police Mark Shields on August 3 to discuss
the current crime statistics and the Jamaica Constabulary
Forces' preparations to prevent major politically motivated
violence during the run up to the August 27 election.
Shields agreed that the crime statistics year-to-date were
trending in the wrong direction, e.g. murders are up by 6%,
but remained firm in his belief that the "intelligence-driven
hot spot" policing which he implemented last year with great
success was holding the lid on what would otherwise have been
an even bloodier toll. In Jamaica's current politically
charged climate, the papers are labeling every incident as
"politically motivated," however, Shields disagrees. In his
view, only a fraction of the violent crimes, such as murder,
have anything to do with politics. In Shields' opinion,
despite a slow start, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF)
will be ready on election day, and he is pleased with the
cooperation and collegial atmosphere between the JCF and the
Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) that will also provide security
on election day. End Summary

Preparations by the Security Forces to quell political
violence



2. (C) Shields was clearly frustrated by the lack of
preparation island-wide to counter politically motivated
violence prior to the election and on polling day. Despite
the fanfare around an earlier press conference by the Jamaica
Constabulary Force (Ref A), it wasn't until the Commissioner
called all the Area Commanders, Assistant and Deputy
Commissioners of Police to an all-day marathon meeting on
July 31 to review each area's tactical plans that Shields
believed that any detailed planning occurred. He shared with
us that in some cases, when it seemed that the Area
Commanders (St. James Parish was one example) were not
prepared, the Commissioner called the Senior Sergeant from
the area on the phone to verify that he was aware of the
plans as outlined by the Area Commander, in most cases the
Sergeants were not. It is indicative of general failure of
management at the JCF, that the Commissioner had to call
everyone in, wasting an entire day of work time, to ensure
that tactical planning was done for the election. In
addition to the tactical plans developed for each Area
Command, the JCF intends to man a command center, and its
Special Branch has promised weekly threat assessments and a
compilation of any crime deemed by the JCF to be "politically
motivated." Shields stated that the threat assessments are
being prepared but not circulated as widely as he would like;
however, he has yet to see the tabulation of "political"
crimes.



3. (C) On the "good news" front, Shields did say that the
Jamaica Defense Force seems well prepared and that
cooperation between the JCF and JDF is better than it has
ever been. The JDF plans to reinforce the JCF and will
assist in particular with security in 19 constituencies of
special concern, such as the Mountain View constituencies of
East St. Andrew and South East St. Andrew where political
violence has occurred in the past. Shields told us that in
these areas, it is his intention to force the JCF to target
gang leaders and known gunman, something that is not
currently being done. He wants the officers to conduct
regular patrols, conduct street-side searches, and hopefully
lock the individuals up prior to election day. It is his
hope that with this very public show of force, the JCF will
give members of the community confidence to turn-out on
election day. He admitted that he needs to plan the
operations very carefully to ensure as much as possible that
they target Opposition and Government areas equally, even
simultaneously if possible.

Links Between Crime and Politics



4. (C) During a discussion on the current crime statistics,
Shields stated that the press was overstating the links
between the upcoming election and crime. For example, since
July 30, there have been five murders in Jamaica, but only
one was politically motivated. However, in at least four of
the cases, the press found some sort of political link.
Shields acknowledged that prior to the election, criminals
took the opportunity to settle grudges, believing that
politics would be the default excuse. He is pushing for all
allegations of political violence to be taken seriously, and
he will continue to do all he can to increase the separate
reporting of statistics on all crimes that contain reasonable

links politics.

General Crime Statistics: the trend is in the wrong direction



5. (C) Shields admitted that Jamaica's year-to-date crime
statistics show a disturbing trend in the wrong direction.
Murders in particular are up nationwide from last year by 6%,
with gang-related murders up by an alarming 40% vis-a-vis
last year's statistics. When you look parish-by-parish, it
is clear that Shields' "hot spot" police techniques are
working in some areas; the murder rate in Eastern Kingston,
for example, is down by 41% over last year's already reduced
number. However, parts of the Kingston Corporate area such
as Western Kingston (up 79%), St. Andrew Central (up 36%) and
St. Andrew South (up 36%) show that the JCF still has a long
way to go to quell violent crime. In the Kingston Corporate
area's worst locations, listed above, Shields stated that it
was a combination of inaction by police and gang wars which
account for the marked increase in murder. The story is the
same in the outlying parishes: where there is good local
management, and committed officers, such as in Manchester and
Westmoreland, murders are down; where you have poor and/or
corrupt management, such as in Clarendon, St. Mary and St.
Elizabeth, the murder rate is up. Shields stated that were
it not for a few committed officers, the murder rate would be
much worse, rather than a 6% overall increase vis-a-vis last
year, we would see an increase in excess of 10%.



6. (C) Comment: Shields is one of five British police
officers brought to Jamaica to promote institutional change
from within the Jamaica Constabulary Force. His high-profile
and multiple television appearances in March and April, after
the death of Pakistan's cricket coach, won him no new friends
in a force already resentful of his position as Deputy
Commissioner of Police for Crime. In addition, the already
frosty relationship Shields had with the current Commissioner
of Police, Lucius Thomas, has almost descended into open
dislike between the two, with Thomas visibly doing all he can
to block and undermine Shields' efficacy. It is evident that
Shields remains frustrated with the utter lack of strategic
leadership within the JCF. In the year and a half that he
has been in Jamaica, he has only been able to nibble at the
edges and make minor changes in an institution that is rife
with problems, mismanagement and corruption. While Jamaica
has thus far avoided a 1980's style meltdown into massive
pre-election killing, the JCF's inability to plan and manage
its limited resources effectively will remain a problem as
long as there is not fundamental change within its leadership
core. Squeaking by during this election season shouldn't be
good enough. End Comment
JOHNSON