Saturday 24 August, 2019

New traffic ticketing system by June

National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang has announced that by June, the Government should have a fully operational traffic ticketing system in place.

Chang, who was speaking on Tuesday in the House of Representatives as he opened the 2019-2020 Sectoral Debate, said the necessary hardware and software are being sourced. He said this would ensure that “we (the Government) can have development and implementation of an electronic warrant module in the traffic ticketing management system”.

“Once we can do that and ensure that those who receive tickets will, in fact, have consequences when they breach the Road Traffic Act, that will begin to restore order to our public highway, and the public will see a major difference in how they operate and our public space will be safe,” Chang said.

He told the House that “I have given a commitment that by mid-year we will fix the system.

"There is a traffic ticketing management system that was acquired from some time back, but the system was never properly operationalised,” the security minister pointed out.

He noted that, currently, there are four agencies involved in the ticketing process, “but the process is dysfunctional” and has resulted in errant drivers with traffic violations not being held accountable.

Meanwhile, Chang, in a wide ranging presentation said 1,000 new police officers are expected to be trained this year. He said by next year, that figure should increase to 1,500.

A professional review of the 19 territorial police divisions suggests that an additional 4,000 members are required to ensure adequate staffing.

Chang noted that while these numbers are being expanded, the Commissioner of Police and his team will be reorganising and “re-missioning” the Inspectorate of Constabulary which will be rebranded as the Professional Standard Branch of the Police Force.

He added that the Mobile Reserve will be restructured and placed in a position to be more effective while responding to the many hotspots across the island effectively.

The security minister also said that the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC) will have a special subgroup to deal with anti-gang issues, among other things.

In the meantime, Chang said consultations with key stakeholders from the ministries of Entertainment, Local Government, and National Security, are to begin regarding amendments to the Noise Abatement Act and the hosting of entertainment activities.

The minister said, in the current legislation, there is always conflict between promoters and members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Under the Act, entertainment sessions must end at midnight on weekdays and at 2:00 am on weekends

“I cannot ask the police to use discretion, the law says so. I have, therefore, requested the Minister of Entertainment to consult with the Minister of Local Government and we will come with an appropriate amendment to the law and establish a protocol for the conduct of entertainment activities,” said Chang.

He said standards and schedules can be established so that decibel levels can be reduced at specific times.

“If you have a house party, you know at certain times the decibel levels [can be reduced], if you are on a playfield and you are 200 yards from homes, you can have another level at 2:00 a.m., and if you are far away on the Dyke Road, Richmond or Catherine Hall, you can go all night and raise the decibel level, but we must lay it out in the schedule governing the law, so that they can do it legally,” he said.

He said entertainment is one of Jamaica’s biggest industries, which offers opportunities to many from the various socio-economic groups.

The Noise Abatement Act was last amended in 1997.

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