OBA’s Smith: Concerned About Police Budget

February 3, 2020

[Updated with response] Shadow National Security Minister Ben Smith said he is “greatly concerned by reports” suggesting that the “police budget is to be cut by $4 million,” with Mr Smith calling on the “Minister to give reassurances that the police budget will not be cut this way.”

Mr Smith said, “I am greatly concerned by reports reaching me that the police budget is to be cut by $4 million. We have increased the role of the police with sobriety check points and, thanks to excellent police work, 2019 did not register a murder.

“The police have been stretched thin covering the varied crimes in Bermuda. They want to increase visibility and do community policing.

“Is that all now going to be jeopardized or will officers be expected to do more with less and suffer from burn-out which will have consequences for their health and wellbeing.

“I fear also that as people feel financial stress due to the state of our economy they may turn to crime.

“We seem to be able to afford to pay for two unnecessary Ministers, we have a so-called Government communications budget of $2.5 million and we can afford ‘consultants’ on $100,000 a year.

“Shouldn’t those costs be cut? Can we, as a society, afford to slash the police budget this way?

“I am also concerned that with the dispute between the POA and Government having been resolved, there will now have to be a resolution for the police who have the same insurance set up as the POA.

“Back pay of 2.5% will have to be paid. Will that come out of the police budget? What will that total be along with the $4 million reduction. Will this cause issues with policing?

“I call on the Minister to give reassurances that the police budget will not be cut this way,” Mr Smith concluded.

We asked the Government for a response, and will update if able.

Update 10.13am: In response, a Government spokesperson said, “The Budget is being finalized and will be unveiled on Budget Day.”

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Comments (8)

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  1. Hugh Jardon says:

    To me this is reckless endangerment.

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    The Government is not responsible for the Bermuda Police Service, the Governor is. Many will recall that Dr. Brown, when Premier, lamented the fact that the Bermuda Government had to fund the police but had no control over the police.

    On that basis, I see no good political reason for the Government to provide adequate funding for the Bermuda Police Service.

    • sandgrownan says:

      We do, but DREB’s motivation was control, not funding.

      But, this is all a result of PLP economic mismanagement. 20 years of failure.

    • Cow Polly says:

      eh? you are being sarcastic, right?

  3. watching says:

    Did I miss MP Smith’s comments on the reduction in gang violence and the fact there were no murders in 2019 and his congratulations to the police force, and community workers that aided in this success?

    • bluenose says:

      Apparently you did miss his comments in this respect, because they are right there in the article, other than the community workers.

  4. Jack Archer says:

    This: In response, a Government spokesperson said, “The Budget is being finalized and will be unveiled on Budget Day.”
    so no denial, so it is being cut .. smh.

  5. Davie Kerr says:

    It’s strange, isn’t it? When election time approaches, every party promises pay increases for teachers, nurses, and the Police. After the election, who’s down near the bottom of every Government pay scale? Right: teachers, nurses, and the Police! Incidentally, does anyone else remember ’93 when 25 Policemen, who had all served in overseas forces before coming to the end of their 5-year contracts in Bermuda, were told that their contracts were not being renewed? I believe that the then Commissioner subsequently retired, claiming that the Police were being used as “a political football.”
    It is said that one of those 25 officers, on reporting to HQ, was told that his contract was not being renewed and that he’d actually accumulated so much annual leave that he should have finished work 3 days previously, so he was to hand in his uniform as he left HQ! I suspect that story may not be totally true, but I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if it was!