Major General Antony Anderson
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson wants tougher penalties for illegal possession of a firearm.
General Anderson says the current penalties are not significant enough to deter criminals from obtaining illegal guns.
"One of the key things is that the person who is walking around in possession of an illegal firearm is the killer. There is no purpose for a firearm except to shoot somebody. And if you have an illegal firearm, that is your intention, to go and shoot somebody, worse when it's a rifle or something like that. And...I've been advocating very strongly for amendments to the Firearms Act that should make possession of a firearm something that somebody would not want to do," he said Monday on Radio Jamaica's Beyond the Headlines.
The Police Commissioner said a team from the Jamaica Constabulary Force is working on recommendations for strengthening existing legislation.
"I have a team working full time on that. It's a small team (working on) not just on the Firearms Act, but other provisions of various Acts that we feel would assist law enforcement greatly if those are changed," he said.
At present, persons face up to life imprisonment for illegal possession of a firearm.
The Police Commissioner said efforts are being made to further reduce homicides in Jamaica.
"The fact that we are below where we were last year is no great comfort. It's small percentages we're talking about, and few lives. But we are below in all major crimes at the moment and hopefully as the weeks progress we will continue to go further below. And that's for a number of reasons, there are a number of strategies that are being employed, including...the actual approach to gangs and trying to get them as a collective before the court and having them in custody. Lots of gang members are in custody," Major Anderson declared.
He was reacting to news that eight persons were killed in Jamaica last weekend.