Minister: Police Allocated $71 Million In Budget

February 26, 2013

“Contrary to the necessary trends of austerity in some areas, the Government has increased the allocation for the Bermuda Police Service to $71 million,” Minister of Public Safety Michael Dunkley said at a press conference held to discuss his Ministry’s budget for this fiscal year.

The allocated amount for the police in last year’s budget was $68.6 million, so this year’s budget increases the police funding some $2.38 million.

“This move demonstrates our commitment to Bermuda’s safety and to delivering on our promise of supporting the Police in making Bermuda safe again,” continued the Minister. “In the Throne Speech we promised an additional 20 police officers. The Budget fulfills that promise and will make that a reality.”

Minister Dunkley continued, “The Commissioner of Police has confirmed that there is a group of qualified Bermudians and residents ready and eager to begin a Recruit Foundation Course and that this will be commenced later this spring.

“It is expected that from this Course and another to be run later in the year, fresh talent will be deployed in support of the Police’s operational mission.

“The public will recall the protracted dispute over police pay and entitlements dating back to 2008. With that matter resolved police officers are now compensated fairly for the important work they do.”

Two of the Ministry’s other departments; the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service and the Bermuda Regiment, have had their budgets reduced by 3%. “The reduction of the budgets for these two key areas is not ideal but prudent decisions have been made,” said the Minister.

Minister Dunkley’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon everyone.

The Island’s economic challenges are well known and Friday’s Budget Statement has given a clear picture of just what we face.

As this Government navigates the economic storm that continues for Bermuda, we also have a responsibility to deliver a quality of life that enables the plan for an economic turnaround to take hold.

Safe communities are the cornerstone of that quality of life.

Contrary to the necessary trends of austerity in some areas, the Government has increased the allocation for the Bermuda Police Service to $71m.

This move demonstrates our commitment to Bermuda’s safety and to delivering on our promise of supporting the Police in making Bermuda safe again.

In the Throne Speech we promised an additional 20 police officers.

The Budget fulfills that promise and will make that a reality.

The Commissioner of Police has confirmed that there is a group of qualified Bermudians and residents ready and eager to begin a Recruit Foundation Course and that this will be commenced later this spring.

It is expected that from this Course and another to be run later in the year, fresh talent will be deployed in support of the Police’s operational mission.

The public will recall the protracted dispute over police pay and entitlements dating back to 2008. With that matter resolved police officers are now compensated fairly for the important work they do.

As my colleague the Minister of Finance has signaled in the Budget Statement, the time has come for us to renegotiate the Conditions of Service Order or COSO which dictates the entitlements of police officers.

The terms and conditions must be modernized to reflect both the generous and wholesome outcome of the arbitrated pay award and these economic times.

There is new leadership within the Police Association and I expect they will be engaged by a team from the Government shortly to advance these discussions.

The heightened police presence in support of targeted operations to disrupt the rhythm of gangs, the required police support for the increasing number of criminal trials involving firearms and the increasing amount of man-hours required investigating serious crimes all have budgetary implications.

I urge the public to understand that responding to calls for these things cannot be done in a vacuum; they cost money.

It is money well spent, but there is a cost attached.

With efficiency in mind, the Commissioner and I have agreed to look internally at the structure and resources of the Police to determine how to better manage the allocation to the BPS in support of the core objectives of fighting guns, gangs, drugs and violence.

This work has been in train and the Commissioner is to be commended for significantly reducing BPS overtime over the last two fiscal years. Significant savings have been realized and this proves that fiscal prudence can be achieved while still delivering on public safety.

This Budget also seeks to address a gap in the oversight of Police actions by shoring up the Police Complaints Authority’s investigative capacity.

An additional $30,000 will be provided to engage part-time investigative assistance to deal with those cases brought to the Authority’s attention.

The rights and freedoms of the individual are central to our democracy and this entity must have the resources to provide the balance to the execution of strong enforcement which we expect from the Police.

The focus on strong enforcement is popular and makes for good talking points. However, it is only one part of the equation.

Strong enforcement which leads to convictions and periods of imprisonment must be accompanied by effective rehabilitation.

In this coming fiscal year the Department of Corrections will also recruit and fill vacant posts of basic corrections officers. Key civilian posts whose roles go directly towards rehabilitation of inmates will also be filled.

The men and women who fall afoul of the law are our sons and daughters and we cannot simply lock them up and throw away the key.

We must punish and concurrently transform and this requires a system capable of doing both.

In similar vein, while we have had to reduce the grant support to several drug treatment and prevention agencies, the $700,000 allocated in this year’s Budget through the Department of National Drug Control will continue to allow those agencies to perform their vital function in this community.

Two of the Ministry’s other departments; the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service and the Bermuda Regiment, have had their budgets reduced by 3%.

As the Minister of Finance stated, this government’s management style will be one of “realism, transparency, prudence and decisiveness”.

We must align our budgets along the priorities set for us by the people of Bermuda.

In the election campaign and beyond, a clear message has been sent regarding public safety and this budget recognizes that. The reduction of the budgets for these two key areas is not ideal but prudent decisions have been made.

The Regiment will continue to function at a high standard and the Commanding Officer is to be commended for responding positively to the need to prioritize within the Ministry.

Similarly, the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service is in transition and this coming year’s allocation is provided pending the full implementation of a revised organizational structure and a new legislative platform.

In closing, my hope is that the Opposition sees fit to devote considerable time to this Ministry in the budget debate.

The people of Bermuda have made public safety a priority for their government and this budget not only takes account of that but clearly shows that we are in step with the needs of the people.

Thank you.

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Comments (25)

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  1. Union Member says:

    I’m sure many are happy with the result, but this will only be beneficial IF education and social programmes receive increased funding as well. If the OBA is truly committed to reducing violent crime they will put money and create programmes in those two areas. We spend about $25K per student but about $80K per prisoner. This is very lopsided.

    If Bermuda equips its youth with a sound education and address dysfunctional family units and provide support to community groups and schools that have systems to flag and help problematic children, crime and violence wouldn’t be increasing. We need policies for the long-term, not just for re-election. As Benjamin Franklin wisely said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

    • Impressive says:

      Exactly!!! People actually think they can police themselves out of crime and violence, its astounding to me.. For Instance, if there was a huge outbreak in fires spreading around the island over and over, would you increase the fire service or put money in a place to address what is causing the fire??? #justsaying.

    • Well said because to often we want to look at what is happening after the fact but what is the root cause to many of these issues and what can be done to prevent it from re-occurring over and over in the lives of the same individuals or families.

      When Bermuda government and most of the elite accept the fact that they are the root cause to most of our social ills because of the system they helped to implement and enforce to make some Bermudians be disfunctional and co dependant on a system that has taught us nothing but mental slavery and design to keep a certain group of people beneath their feet.

      That is when we can say we are going some where but dont just give the police more funding to keep locking up something that protects the elite and present and past government officials to continue to have a lavish lifestyle while raping the country bare on the backs of those they trample over.

  2. What Do You THink says:

    Hmm interesting.. the police Budget gets funding, BUT the BFS & Bda Regiment get reduced. Those are the two services that if my memory serves me correctly work along side the BPS and they have to bear the brunt of the work load since they have the equipment to save and salvage. I better see a REDUCTION in all crimes then if thats the case. If crime increases Mr. Dunkley you best get out of office

    • Joonya says:

      What is it with you people? You want instant results or “get out”. Give them a chance for Christ’s sake. They just got in!
      And where was your “get out” attitude when crime was increasing under Wayne’s underachievement??

      • ABM says:

        Don’t agree with the get out of office bit, but what preceeds that is actually spot on.

    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      Did you say the same when the previous government presided over a disastrous increase in crime? Or was it ‘different’ then?

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    Best results would be if assets of these criminals could be seized & used to offset the cost of catching them & prosecuting them. These people are the ones, after all, who are the reason for the BPS being as large as it is for such a tiny population.

    • Tommy Chong says:

      The OBA promised before election to make lmgistlations to allow use of criminals assets to help. There must be millions impounded from all these drug bust that is if it hasn’t grown legs. Another promise that OBA has not kept. WOW! It’s so true that politicians all tell you one thing & do another. Same ish different party.

      • Bermy Gooner says:

        The House has sat for two sessions since it convened. Do you really expect all promised legislation to be passed in two sessions?

        It requires tabling and debate as well as a vote in the House. If not, then we are no longer a democracy.

        Unlike the Term Limit POLICY (not legislation).

        You seem pretty intelligent on most subjects, so why play dumb with this one?

        • Zombie Apocalypse says:

          He’s another duma$$. Wants 14 years of idiocy corrected in 5 minutes with instant results.

          • Independent says:

            @Zombie Apocalypse,

            Actually your the dumba$$ for making statements such as yours. I will give you the fact that the PLP fell off the track in the last 2-4 years (maybe 5), but your 14 year statement is pretty stupid. I see that statement almost everyday, and it simply is not true.

            If Bermuda as a whole wants to investigate how politicians have taken from the country, why would we just stop at 14 years? You have no concern for robbery that could have took place before then?

      • Pastor Syl Hayward says:

        @ Tommy Chong: In another article on Bernews today, Minister Dunkley states that he has already tabled the legislation of which you speak. Is that fast enough for you? Not even 3 months in office and only 2 sessions in the House and the legislation is already written and put forward for discussion!!!
        WOW! It’s so NOT true that politicians all tell you one thing & do another.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Ummmm….I believe the legislation already exists for seizing the assets of crime. Been there since the UBP days. Never heard of it being done. Never seen any auctions for cars, boats, property. I would think it is up to the courts to enforce it.

      The problem is that we have had a very soft on crime government for the past 14 years. The courts are going to take some sort of action/inaction based on the policy of the Government of the day.

      The OBA policy of tough on crime well understood by the courts.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Oh why can’t we edit on this blog?

        Last line SB The OBA policy of tough on crime NEEDS TO BE well understood by the courts.

        Sorry, I usually proof read my posts.

      • Islander says:

        It is time for folk to stop comparing the UBP and the OBA – UBP over done dead and so are the books closed on that part of history. OBA – a new team – fresh start, new thinking, putting Bermuda where they should have been in how many years.

        Just cant please people unless things are done their way or no way – thus the upcoming March. I didn’t get in so come join me to show my frustration at not being elected at the last election.

        • Independent says:

          @ Islander,

          Your pretty slow if you think everything about the UBP is done and dead lol. You can’t be that stupid.

          On another note, why would we close the books on any Gov’s history? If wrongs took place then, you want to close the book? I am glad you are just a blogger.

  4. fox_gap_2 says:

    well done OBA, keep delivering dem promises. lets turn this HELLHOLE….i got faith in you bies

    • fox_gap_2 says:

      lets turn this HELLHOLE around…..is what i meant to say!! lolol

  5. What Do You THink says:

    At joonya, I didn’t have personal access to the internet until this year. And yes the previous govt did mess up a lot of promises for their voters and the country as a whole. The look on Paula Cox face when she lost her seat. PRICELESS . As for the “get out of office’ remark. if we as a whole don’t see results he should be replace with someone who can make them results happen. You will have to agree Crime and Spending is out of hand

    • Joonya says:

      You must know of a Wizard who with one swipe of his sceptor can make this all disapear..

  6. Y-Gurl says:

    $71m to further fund an ineffective and incapable BPS great work OBA when do we hear the part about them being held accountable for their dismal results?

  7. knowthyself says:

    Only time will tell boys and girls. Let us have faith that spending more money is the solution!!

    In the meantime lets all hold hands and sing Kumbaya my lord.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo9AH4vG2wA

  8. therealreason says:

    money is power. we livin in a police state! and all they doin is lettin the streets run wild!
    paradox:
    more police. more guns. more violence.
    more drug seizures. now we in a crisis. where are those drugs really goin!?
    money is the ruler. aint no dirty politian employing sum moral high ground. they puttin it bak on the streets!
    history repeats itself!

  9. Bobmarlin says:

    Good job minister Dunkley.Now go after the ___ politicians!