Video: Shadow Minister On Police Budget Cuts

July 19, 2015

Following the news that the Bermuda Police Service will be reduced by 10 police officers, Shadow Public Safety Minister Walter Roban said the PLP “appreciates and supports the work” of the police, and said it “is essential that this process is managed carefully to not only maintain operational effectiveness, but also maintain public confidence.”

Background

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.

Chairman of the Bermuda Police Association Sergeant Raoul Ming called the decision not to renew ten contracts “nothing short of heartbreaking,” adding 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.”

Premier and National Security Minister Michael Dunkley said “although this course of action is not the preferred option, it is one I support in light of the budgetary requirements of this Ministry.

“This Government continues to support the police in the tough job they have to do every day and I am satisfied that there will be minimal impact on operational effectiveness and that the Commissioner and his team of officers can continue to do the job we rely on them to do.”

Shadow Public Safety Minister Walter Roban’s Comments

Mr Roban told Bernews, “A number of public statements have been made by the PLP on this already, and I’d just like to reiterate some of the comments that we have made.

“We do believe that it is fair to ensure that the Police share the burden that the wider public sector has had to make through this period of budget cuts, and to assist in reaching Government targets as other areas of the service have made a commitment to do.

“I do believe that the Police have been a part of that process. As we know, they have been experiencing budget reductions since 2009, and they must be commended for reaching and assisting with those targets since that time.

“We do note the concerns about the 10 officers whose contracts will be ended, there’s also a possibility of additional contracts being ended. We ask that the Government ensure that a proper redundancy, or policy, is put in place, so that it is clear to all concerned, as to how the system of contract elimination is going to work for the Service. That it is ensured that none of these reductions affect strength of the Police Service.

“They should be commended for the work they’ve done over the past 10 years to reduce overall crime, and no one wants any changes to also affect their ability to continue that work.

“We would like to also put up a word of caution to the Police Service, and to the Minister of National Security as to how this process will be handled, for another reason.

“Back with the UBP administration in the 1990′s, a similar process of reducing manpower and strength was done to reduce cost. It resulted in, what frankly was, a disaster for the Service. It resulted in subsequent legal actions by officers who were affected. Essentially the penalties that had to paid out in the courts, it is our view, reduced any value that those savings actually bought to the Service at the time.

“We do hope that the mistakes of the past have been learned and that going forward those who manage the Police Service and the Ministry, take a process that respects the dignity and the service of these officers whose contracts are going to be impacted.

“The Police Service serve an essential role to this community. If they are going participate in the process of shared sacrifice it should be done in a way that respects the integrity and the dignity that their service has to our country.”

In a written statement, Mr Roban said, “The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party appreciates and supports the work of our Bermuda Police Service in helping to reduce our island’s overall crime numbers over the past decade.

“With each Government department facing mandatory spending reductions, the BPS should be commended for reaching their spending targets since 2009, all without sacrificing operations capability.

“The announcement by the Police Commissioner of staff reductions raises several questions.

  • 1] What is the number of Bermudian officers that will be made redundant?
  • 2] What is the projected number of contract conclusions required to meet spending targets?
  • 3] Will this decision impact on future local recruitment efforts?

“It is essential that this process is managed carefully to not only maintain operational effectiveness, but also maintain public confidence. Redundancies that save money but reduce the capacity to fight crime neither benefit Bermuda nor Bermudians.

“Past UBP administrations faced serious legal challenges stemming from improperly handled redundancies that resulted in legal fees that virtually erased any savings created by the redundancies. We hope that the lessons of the past have been learned.

“The Minister of National Security is responsible and has delegated authority for administration, finance and general organization. Despite this, the Premier who also serves in this role has allowed the impression to be given that this has been orchestrated by the Police Commissioner and management of the BPS. Responsibility sits with the Premier, yet he has not taken the lead on this matter.

“We encourage the Premier to display leadership on this issue and working in concert with the BPS to ensure that this process is managed properly,” added Mr Roban.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Shadow Public Safety Minister Walter Roban said:
    “The Minister of National Security is responsible and has delegated authority for administration, finance and general organization. Despite this, the Premier who also serves in this role has allowed the impression to be given that this has been orchestrated by the Police Commissioner and management of the B.P.S. Responsibility sits with the Premier, yet he has not taken the lead on this matter.”
    As a matter of fact he has taken the lead, and had the last say.

  2. Triangle Drifter says:

    Compared to similar sized communities how large is the BPS?

    Can’t simply do the numbers. Need to find communities with a similar breakdown in demographics because it does make a difference in crime rates & therefore the size of law enforcement needed.

    The size of our BPS seems huge. But then, our crime rate, from murder all the way down, is huge too for such a small community.

    • Paul Revere says:

      Most other jurisdictions would have other agencies that they can depend upon in time of need or disaster.

      With only the BPS to protect our shores and roads, it’s very easy to play with numbers and make them work in your favor depending on which side of the fence you on.

      Only time will tell if this move was by design, because from all records available the past few years the majority of the officers joining the service were either Bermudian, from the Islands or spouses of Bermudians.

      Didn’t have too many officers joining from the UK.
      so maybe that’s been the plan all along?

    • Ringmaster says:

      Whilst the BPS might be large for the population, it is still not enough unfortunately. For example more are needed to control the roads.
      At least the BPS provides a service. What needs to be cut are the hundreds of spare bodies in the civil service whose jobs have been made redundant by technology and the fall in population. No jobs but are still employed and paid to do nothing.

  3. Ruthless says:

    Couldn’t help but think yesterday, with all the antics at the county game and the Police begging for more resources just what would have happened if there was a shooting at the same time in say Southampton or Sandys Parish. Good luck to BPS in the future.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Why is it that Bermudians don’t know how to behave at events & need such a large security team & police to watch over them?

      Really, they behave like rebel teens. So immature!

      I attended a multi day music festival in Oshkosh, Wisconson last month. Had to be at least 2000 people there. Like Harbour Nights on a very very well attended night.

      Looking around they had maybe 6 of their own security & only 2 regular city cops on the grounds. It was an Irish music & cultural festival so plenty of alcohol was available yet not a single incident seen.

      Behaving is not hard to do.

  4. I see the strides that have been made and I don’t wish regressive action being implemented…absolutely not …legalise medical marijuana…decriminalise small amounts …say an ounce…tax it…utilise funds to increase police service…not decrease it…that is like not watering a plant!

  5. Terry says:

    More b****** from Mr. Roban.
    Bermudians are not on contract. Never have been.
    Now probation?
    That’s another story.
    All Officers are on ‘probation’.

    Just another ploy by the PLP to have something to say and make it look like to their herd that they are on top of it all.

    Only thing they are on top of is the debt they left us.

    Pick the bones out of that trolls.

    Keep this up and we all will be eating parrott fish.
    Shalom.

  6. Y-Gurl says:

    Will we even notice.? Really

  7. Oh,I see now says:

    Roban+Marshall=just sit down and hush.

  8. bluebird says:

    Mr roban do pray tell that you have found the secret MONEY TREE