CMC – Jamaica recorded a 12 percent decline in murders during the first quarter of this year, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has said.
Last year, Jamaica recorded 1,200 murders as compared to 1,097 in 2012.
Delivering the traditional Throne Speech at the start of the new Parliament on Thursday, Sir Patrick said that there had also been a 13 percent decline in the overall category of serious crimes.
According to the head of state, fatal police shootings for the first quarter of 2014 had dropped by over 50 percent, reflecting better operational planning and improved community co-operation.
Speaking under the theme, "Going for Growth: Creating Opportunities", Sir Patrick said that the long contemplated merger of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) had been approved by Cabinet and will be implemented this fiscal year.
He said the merger would eliminate duplication in the command structure and release more personnel for operational duty.
Additionally, the Governor-General noted that significant capital investment would be made this fiscal year to upgrade the technology available for the investigations and operations of the police.
This will include communication, palm and fingerprint identification, and cyber forensic systems.
The Governor-General made special mention of the Unite for Change (UFC) initiative, which was implemented in December 2013. It is aimed at building a national movement to encourage positive social behaviour and promote a safer, gentler society.
"This important prevention initiative was born out of the realisation that violence is the outcome of dysfunction at many different levels in the society, including family, school, community, social services, and popular culture," he told legislators.