Decision To Reduce Officers Is “Heartbreaking”

July 17, 2015

“The news of the decision not to renew ten contracts of serving members of the Bermuda Police Service was nothing short of heartbreaking,” Chairman of the Bermuda Police Association Sergeant Raoul Ming said, adding that the BPA “remain committed to policing and statistics show that we are focused on combating the effects of guns, gangs, violence and anti-social behaviours.”

Yesterday Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva, citing budget restrictions, said that ten police officers’ contracts will be allowed to expire, adding that “reducing the number of police officers has only been considered as a last resort.”

“More contracts will likely be allowed to expire in 2016 to assist in meeting the budget reduction targets. This will not be good news to anyone but it is clear that it is not possible to keep all of our officers in service,” the Commissioner said.

In response, Sgt. Ming said, “The members were notified via email from the Commissioner of Police on June 29, 2015. I immediately made contact with each of the officers that same day and have since met with all but two of the said officers since the news was delivered. Contracts are a matter for the Commissioner of Police and he has provided the affected members with an explanation as to their individual contracts.

“In March 2015, the BPA Executive met with the Commissioner of Police in reference to cost savings. One of the suggestions was that of the continuation of the Furlough Day which was widely unpopular with the government workers who, through the Bermuda Trade Union Congress, rejected its continuance.

“However when asked whether or not the continued adoption of the Furlough Day would save all jobs within the rank and file of the BPA, the Commissioner was clear, that would not be enough and contracts would be in jeopardy. Although the BPA presented suggestions in other areas, the Commissioner explained that our $38,000,000.00 salary budget would be the only area to make significant cost savings.

“Cuts in salaries or the loss of benefits has different implications on our members as we have a very diverse group of employees. Currently, there are three main groups of employees within the BPS [officers only]:

  • the Bermudian or spouse of Bermudian
  • the pensionable officer who was initially hired on contract
  • the contracted officer who is not yet pensionable

“Each of those groups above will have other pockets of officers who have individualized consequences. A cut to either of those groups although the same on the surface will have completely different realizations. Our members need to have solutions that are palatable to all and create parity across the board.

“The Commissioner has stated that there have been successive cuts in the Police Budget since 2009! As at March 2015, there were 438 officers within the BPS. Today, that number, through resignations, retirements and natural attrition has been reduced to approximately, 428. With the ten job losses, that number will fall in region of 418.

“With the 2015-2016 budget 5% less than that of last year the BPA members have been asked to continue all the cost savings measures from the previous year plus an additional 5% [-12%]. There are members within the BPA who are currently making interest only payments on their mortgages, some are delinquent and others on the verge of having their mortgages called. The affects and impact are being felt by all.

“A question that I ask of the Commissioner, has the government either provided or set a specific number of officers they believe is the ideal number of officers needed to police our islands? If yes, what is the number?

“The BPA is currently in negotiations with the Bermuda Government’s Public Sector Negotiating Team and we have entered into this venture in good faith. Is the Commissioner’s statement in relation to further job cuts for 2016-2017 premature or is it likely that further cuts are necessary to reach a lower number mandated by the government? If an agreement were to be met covering the next two years why would it be necessary for additional cuts?

“On a matter of welfare, I find it distasteful that our very own Minister takes every opportunity to speak on the subject of GEHI contributions. The constant attention to the subject has caused anxiety throughout all ranks of the BPS. It’s as if a tactic of divide and conquer is being applied to ensure the matter remains in the public eye and especially amongst other government workers.

“The rank and file of the Bermuda Police Service put their lives at risk on a daily basis. We walk into danger when others have the option of running away. We provide safety for our residence and visitors alike at the risk of our own lives. As we continue to work rigorous shifts and long hours our bodies fold under the pressures of stress.

“There is currently a disease causing grave concern for many of our members within the BPA; Trigeminal Neuralgia. Trigeminal Neuralgia or TN which is also known by the name, the suicide disease is caused by a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve as it exits the brain stem. Those suffering with TN experience excruciating, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like facial pain. Who is affected by this disease, every 12/100,000 people [mainly women]. Why is this information relevant? There are currently seven officers suffering with TN in the ranks of the BPS. Five of those mentioned have had the treatment which consists of brain surgery. One of those officers has had five surgeries. The statistics are alarming. Is there a correlation between shift work and the disease? Is there some other explanation that links the disease with our very line of work?

“The members of the BPA remain committed to policing and statistics show that we are focused on combating the effects of guns, gangs, violence and anti-social behaviours. I, as I’m certain those within the BPA membership would also welcome the support of our Minister, the Premier as we remain committed to our mandate, making Bermuda safer,” added Sgt Ming.

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, News

Comments (36)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. NO MORE WAR says:

    This is a sad situation. My question would be why did the force wait so long to decide to not renew contracts. This should have started a while ago. It seems everybody but the Police Hief realized that Bermuda economy is in a sad state of affairs.

    • People loosing jobs for the price of a sailboat race which is a bragging rights event for Billionaires.

      • Whistling Frog says:

        With the amount of vehicles they’ve smashed up you could of brought a fleet of sail boats too…

      • Anbu says:

        800 million. Where is it?!

        • You mean the $800 million that SpoongeBob just burrowed that was supposed to last for three years and couldn’t make it past two and ended up burrowing another $200 million?

  2. NO MORE WAR says:

    *Chief

  3. Starting Point says:

    I for one would much rather have police on the job than the regiment. Close the regiment immediately, it is nothing more than a marching band to satisfy seniors on parade day.

    There is no money so we need to chose what is important to us. Close the regiment, reduce the BTA salaries and keep the police at a decent level.

    Give the regiment grounds to Bermuda charities for offices, youth programing.

    simple – wont happen but simple none the less.

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      Great idea that would satisfy ALL ;-)

    • Send for the cavalry says:

      The Commisioner said he wanted 450 police. Disband the regiment, merge the full-time staff to the police, reduce the amount of regiment officers and increase police.

      Work the maths but the result would be an increase of police officers for less or same expense.

    • What's really going on? says:

      Ditch the money pit that is the BPS Marine unit for starters. Let the task fall to the Regiment Boat Troop. They are more qualified and can do the job for cents on the dollar compared to the BPS.

    • Whistling Frog says:

      @ Starting point: You’d have a different story if a puff of wind came alone a blew your roof off. Then you’d asking where’s the troops?? Leave Elizabeth’s marchers alone you had your turn…

  4. Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

    Relax Sgt.Ming! The Commissioner of Police doesn’t seem worried about the impact this will have on Bermuda,and the buck stops with him / the Governor.
    Things will very likely get worse before getting better. Get over it!

  5. Kevin says:

    Is there any way we the public are able to view wage scales and benefits
    Health, housing and pension and what is contributed by employer and employee. There is this perception that the BTA are all overpaid what are all government contracts worth

  6. Terry says:

    I am sure that Michael is aware of all happenings.
    He and his men and women have done a great job over the years and prior.

    Budget cuts are needed.

    Now as an OBA supporter I would tell Mr. Dunkley to pull his finger out of his a** and teets and stand strong.

    10 contracted/contract police jobs employment mean nothing. They were not told it was a job for life/retirement.
    It’s a contract.

    Now.
    Get back to the lazy lot that have been ripping us all off for years aka Civil Service.

    Bring it on.

    Years ago, hundreds of contracts were not renewed.

    Michael DeSilva should not be the fall guy for MICHAEL DUNKLEY and team.

    My opinion.

    Shalom.

    • Grizz says:

      Terry we are all entitled to our opinion but when you speak of the Civil Service can you please say SOME because I am one of them who happen to work pretty damn hard?! PLEASE AND THANKS!!

    • I couldn’t agree more Terry. “10 contracted / contract police jobs employment mean nothing. They were not told it was a job for life / retirement. It’s a contract.” Furthermore, by taking 10 police officers off of the force works out to what, approximately one officer from each police station per shift…No big deal! We often will see two driving around in cars doing, “Jack” Now is that necessary?

    • Dockyard Lackey says:

      Sorry mate, but there are quite a few lazy hangers on in the current staff of the Police Service. There are more than a few long term sick members who have been out for years, not months. The starting pay for a 19 year old entering the job untrained is around $72K. Add to that free health insurance, five weeks holiday pay, etc, etc. That starting salary is about $7K higher than the average pay on the Island. Don’t get me wrong here. We have a lot of dedicated Police Officers doing a great job, but they are undermined by the lazy lot who are only in to for the pay. I read that some cannot pay their mortgages. Manage your finances before you buy a house like every other sane person in these economically tight times. I witness at least a dozen blatant traffic offenses every day, ( and I am not an officer on patrol. ) We need more boots on the ground, not stuck in offices doing clerical work. It is my humble opinion that the Police Asociation has too much influence on the day to day running of the Service. Just like the BIU and associate unions think that their job is to run this country. Power to the people is one thing, but dragging all the other people into the abyss is another.

  7. Smokey says:

    It’s only ten officers, people are being made redundant daily, why the big out cry for just police officers?

  8. watching says:

    @ smokey,…..you want context…..i was told, if five (5) officers don’t show up to work tonight, then there is serious stress!!!

  9. Reality Bites says:

    Reality??

    Perhaps the Commissioner wants to make a point to the Association…

    Perhaps the Association has a particular perpendicular point….which is being fulfilled by the Commissioner making that very point.

    contract workers……”pack your bags!!”

    United we stand Bermuda

    • Send for the cavalry says:

      If you get rid of contract workers, you lose a vast amount of experience. If you lose experience then crime increases. If crime increases then international business relocates to other jurisdictions (as it is already doing through mergers and reductions etc), then the Bermuda bubble will really burst.

      “United we stand Bermuda” is already standing on the edge of a precipice. Value ALL your assets, as more contract workers is good for the economy and means more opportunities for Bermuda and Bermudians. You can’t switch overnight, it takes time, decades not years.

      • NO MORE WAR says:

        Send for the cavalry. You gave me a good laugh. You must be a contract worker. What you said is such nonsense.

  10. bermudaglobetrottersdotcom says:

    They ain’t exactly crime fighters. Nobody will miss them. THE END.

  11. swing voter says:

    everyone must feel the pain….even the police service. I’m hoping our MPs will also feel the pain. Yeah right!

  12. Wow says:

    What’s sad is who thinks this sad…we paying too much of these wannabs to do nuttin…

  13. No…don’t do that…see that?…don’t do that.This is with out a doubt “the”…worst decision…and I …for one…need to know …who…”exactly”…propones this horrendous mistake.

  14. a smart move says:

    No matter what solutions are found it is impossible to satisfy everyone. The police like the civil service is also over bloated. Management of these resources at best gets a F! Not renewing contracts is a better approach to streamlining. Furthermore the police can get rid of some of its consultants that have been pulled out of retirement. We clearly don’t have enough of a police presence on our streets and it’s not because we don’t have the numbers. So do what needs to be done, and Bermudians that seem to want their cake and eat it to, get with the reality of what is got to be done! Stop the moaning over every little thing that is required to improve this economy. So sick of it!

  15. It is not rocket science says:

    I am in agreement with the commenters above close the Regiment and move full time officers to the BPS. It makes sense. That would also fulfill the promise of no more conscription. Just a week ago another list of males were posted as being called….many whose families voted OBA because of the end to conscription promise. Of course you will have resistance from the old boys at the top who receive good paychecks!

  16. Alvin Williams says:

    One thing is for sure the one person that is the real head of Bermuda’s police service will not lose a thing; I am speaking of the British appointed governor which will still get his over One million dollars a year; paid for by the Bermudian tax payer.

    • Come now Alvin, you know we’re a British Colony and they (& the Queen) appoint our Governor :-( Yes he has the last say whether you and a few others like it or not… That’s the way it is.

  17. Audit says:

    There seems to be a few factors here:

    1. With the current economic situation, job losses are a reality. unfortunately, the easiest option is to not renew contracts. The COP should not be giving reasons for not renewing contracts. If its ended, thank you. When you start to choose, you open yourself to justifying those decisions, and sometimes you cannot legally defend those choices.

    2. With an important asset as the Police, there needs to be an independent(qualified, not a friends with ) authority overseeing their spending, decision making and budget. Currently neither the Public Service Commission, The Premier, nor the Governor does it. I challenge any one of them to tell the public when last they told the commissioner, ” why are you buying this?, do you need it? No?” Also, if you are struggling for funds, why have a process for promoting a second Assistant Commissioner of Police, when that second post has only been around for about six(6) years….” Why?, do you need it? no!!”

    The COP is a nice guy and can sell ice to an eskimo, but that administration requires Police management support instead of allowing them to keep winging it and then learn from their experience. Oh, and if that is perhaps considered, please bring a team of three(3) and don’t let them choose. Lessons should have been learnt from Bell and Mirfield.

    Oh and i forgot…..the BPS needs a Audit. Should have been done before PATI.

  18. bluebird says:

    This is painfull but only the beginning,we cannot contine to borrow $220Million per year to finance the HUGE GOVERMENT that does not produce and thing just consumes Tax Dollars.
    No the ecconomy is not comming back until we can balance the budget and pay down the debt.

  19. Scorpio says:

    My wife has TN and does shift work. That condition is NO JOKE!