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September 2010
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Jamaica joins forces with Caribbean neighbours in fighting crime – St Lucia First Up

Jamaica is strengthening collaboration with other countries in the Caribbean in the fight against through the setting up of a regional Crime Stop call centre.

The LIME/Crime Stop Caribbean call centre was launched Monday by Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington and Crime Stop Jamaica.

The police chief said the local Crime Stop had established itself as a very valuable partner in the fight against crime, but as criminals take their activities across borders it has become necessary for the Jamaica Constabulary Force to partner with regional forces.

“This has highlighted the need for us to share capacity. The launch of the Caribbean call centre for Crime Stop represents a major step by the private sector partnering with law enforcement to build out the capacity that can make law enforcement more effective by creating a platform for citizen co-operation,” he said.

Manager for Crime Stop, Prudence Gentles, said that in addition to helping to solve crime at the regional level, the centre will also generate income through an annual charge to the countries which will benefit from the service.

Gentles said that revenue earning will depend on factors such as the size of the population of each country, and the number of calls.

St Lucia will be the first island slated to come on stream.

Chairman of Crime Stop, Peter John Thwaites, explained how the system would work: “In St Lucia, for example, they would call whatever the number in St Lucia is, we would get back in touch with the police in St Lucia, and they would take action. It has nothing to do with crime in Jamaica.”

Thwaites added that it is the mandate of Crime Stoppers International to encourage the expansion of this programme across the world, noting that when Jamaica first joined Crime Stoppers International in 1999, there were only six member countries from the Caribbean. Now there are 11 regional countries: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda, Mexico, Barbados, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and the British Virgin Islands.

Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are the only two that answer their own Crime Stop calls. Some countries must have calls answered offshore to ensure that anonymity is not compromised.

Miami Dade Crime Stoppers has over the years answered calls for several of the small island nations, but with the increasing number of programmes being set up and the desire to have a Caribbean voice answer calls, Jamaica and Trinidad were approached to set up a call centre exclusively for the region.

Jamaica’s Crime Stop centre has been expanded and equipped to serve that purpose, with telecommunications company LIME providing additional telephone service for the centre.

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