OBA MP Ben Smith On Police Budget Cuts

July 2, 2020 | 4 Comments

“The government must utilise caution and extreme diligence when deciding to cut the police budget,” Shadow National Security Minister Ben Smith said, adding that “all of us are affected when our police and law enforcement agencies face budget cuts.”

Mr Smith said, “The impact of COVID-19, globally and locally, and in particular the escalation of multiple social, economic, and mental issues associated with the pandemic, cannot be underestimated.

“However, let me be truly clear – COVID-19 was not the catalyst for the escalation of the issues that plague our society. The reality is that the pandemic has only served to heighten anxieties and worries about issues that were already present.

“Prior to the pandemic and ‘shelter in place’, the Government passed the 2020/21 Budget. The most basic function of government is to ensure the safety of its people, yet the Government cut the police budget for 2020/21 by $4 million. All of us are affected when our police and law enforcement agencies face budget cuts.

“Sadly, the gang culture and demonstrations of anti-social behavior has been a part of our culture for quite some time. I commend the BPS, Pastor Leroy Bean and the Gang Reduction Task Force and other helping agencies for the work that they do in terms of addressing the gang culture.

“But none of these entities can be expected to function effectively when the Government does not allocate and provide the necessary funding and/or staffing required to provide for our safety.

“Violent incidents have been on the rise over the past few weeks. The BPS has been stretched to capacity and has needed the support of The Royal Bermuda Regiment.

“Though it is often repeated, we must be the change we want to see. When a police department is forced to endure budget cuts and cannot afford to hire police officers, we suffer as a community.

“I understand that at times, smart and efficient budget cuts are necessary, however, the government must utilise caution and extreme diligence when deciding to cut the police budget, because at the end of the day, there is no greater duty of government than to provide for public safety.”

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Comments (4)

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  1. George Jones says:

    Is it not a little academic discussing budget cuts when the police are being defunded?

  2. comfortably numb says:

    On a per capita basis, as with the Civil Service, we must have the largest police forces in the world so trimming the body of police officers would not be a disaster. What we desperately need is a more visible presence of police officers on foot, in cars and on motorcycles. Moving some of those Police officers out of offices and away from their computers would comfort the law abiding public and disturb the lawless members of the public.

  3. Bobby says:

    It does not suit our current government to have an efficient police service. Too many arrests makes them less popular with their electorate despite the front they portray. You are beating your head against the wall Mr Smith.

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