File photo. Major General Antony Anderson, Jamaica's Commissioner of Police is forming Santa Squads to crack down on illegal Christmas parties over the holiday season.

KINGSTON, Jamaica–December 3rd, 2020–Jamaica’s Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, has announced that specific measures as well as response teams will be instituted to target illegal parties during the Christmas season.

Speaking during a virtual press conference on December 2, Commissioner Anderson said the response teams will strictly enforce the Disaster Risk Management Act and the Noise Abatement Act.

He said criminals have been targeting illegal gatherings and parties. “These have been a focal point for shootings and other violent attacks,” the Commissioner shared.

Major General Anderson pointed out that persons who attend these events do so at significant risk, highlighting incidents in Westmoreland, Braeton in St. Catherine and Grant’s Pen, St. Andrew, where persons were injured or killed as a result of shooting incidents at illegal parties.

“Those are the ones that are quite public, even though there have been a few others. Under normal application for events under the Noise Abatement Act, it allows police officers to be aware and do background checks on the promoters of these events and also on the venues, and so once approved, the police are able to monitor the event. These illegal gatherings have no such advance notice and, therefore, are inherently more dangerous,” he said.

The Commissioner called on members of the public to inform the police about illegal gatherings by calling 119. “We also urge persons not to attend such gatherings,” he said.

The ban on entertainment activities, including nightclubs, was implemented as part of measures to contain and reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).