Saturday, 8 October 2011

Praedial Larceny Prevention Programme Remains In Limbo

Excerpts from a Jamaica Gleaner newspaper article:

PLANS FOR the much-vaunted Praedial Larceny Prevention Programme seem to have fallen by the wayside following the departure of Lieutenant Colonel Paul Dunn who was appointed to lead the national drive to arrest the wide-scale theft of livestock and other farm produce on December 15, 2009.

"I have nothing to tell you on that right now," Dr Marc Panton, chief technical director in the agriculture ministry, told The Gleaner on Wednesday. " I just don't have anything I can tell you, honestly."

Dunn, for whom the post of praedial larceny prevention coordinator was created, quit in March over concerns about the ministry's ability to continue to pay his salary. This was just after the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Crime Stop which seemed destined to raise the public awareness about the theft of farm produce which has been quoted at $5 billion annually. However, many people believe this figure to be well below the real figure, given that a lot of theft goes unreported.

disappointing situation

Crime Stop Manager Prudence Gentles was particularly disappointed with the failure to build on the strategies put in place to facilitate the requisite networking among stakeholders in agriculture to mount a sustained assault against praedial larceny.

"What has happened since then, I have absolutely no idea," she told The Gleaner.

"I wish I could assist you. I'm not too sure what is happening with the anti-praedial larceny. I think the only place that you can go and find that out is the Ministry of Agriculture," she suggested.  Read more
Seriously now, if the powers that be were serious about tackling this problem, would they've hired a 'lone ranger' in the agriculture ministry to come up with a reward-for-information public campaign programme to solve this problem? What business does the Ministry of Agriculture has in law enforcement? Is that their mandate? Praedial larceny is a crime like all other crimes affecting businesses of every kind, and is a law enforcement issue. Should the banks likewise, turn to the Ministry of Finance to hire a security consultant to come up with a reward-for-information programme to catch debit card fraudsters? And the telephone companies should turn to the Ministry of Telecommunications for security guards to protect their copper cables from scrap metal scavengers? What a joke.

This crime problem affecting farm owners is a matter for the Ministry of National Security, the police and the farmers. The Ministry of Agriculture has nothing to do with securing privately-owned farms. The farm owners should work with the police in their communities, as well as private security experts, who could easily recommend wireless perimeter protection and intrusion detection systems, appropriate for large and small farms. It's just common sense. Get detection systems that can detect intrusions and record images of the intruders. If the intruders manage to get away, you'll have images that readily identify the culprits, that can be published on Wanted posters in the communities and circulated on social media and shown on the TV news. Criminals don't like publicity and the information technologies at our finger tips are our greatest weapons against the bandits. Use them. The greatest thing is that you'll have undeniable evidence of who's committing these crimes, and will be able to score victory after victory in the courts. Far better than a call-in programme where the crooks themselves would be calling to make mischief on innocent people, by sending the police to their homes on wild goose chases.

1 comment:

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