Commish backs police station 'bars' opening as part of support system
Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, is supporting the opening of bars that are located inside police stations, despite the Government’s ban on such recreational facilities opening the doors during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
According to Anderson, speaking during a tour of the South St Andrew Police Division on Wednesday, the recreational facilities in the police stations will remain open as a support system for police personnel.
“Those facilities, those canteens and recreational facilities at police stations, are a critical part of the whole welfare of our officers. That’s the only place largely that they can go and in a controlled environment, get something to eat, to drink,” said Anderson.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, after declaring the island a disaster area, imposed a ban on the opening of recreational facilities on Monday, March 16, in an effort to stem the spread of the COVID-19 on the island.
That measure, which was taken under the Disaster Risk Management Act, took effect on Wednesday, March 18, and would have lasted for five days, but was on Tuesday extended to April 23.
A media report on Wednesday cited several cases across the Corporate Area where bars located inside police stations were opened. These included Matilda’s Corner, Kingston Central and Hunts Bay police stations.
In response, Anderson said: “We are running the operations 24 hours a day and it’s getting more and more intense as the cases of COVID-19 increase, and knowing that our criminals are actually stepping up their activities as well.
“So they (bars) have to remain open and they are a critical component in the support system to our police officers. Social distancing as much as we can.
“Even though we are by regulations, exempt to certain things, these distances are there for a good reason. They are there for health reason, and we will observe them as much as we possibly can whilst we still have to execute our job,” Anderson said.
Up to Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the island was 26.