Continuing evaluation of Senator Burch’s desire to have the governor delegate control of the police force raises today’s question of whether the responsibilities Senator Burch already has over the police force are being managed effectively.
An earlier piece concerning Policing in Bermuda noted:
Sen. Burch has made numerous calls for the Governor to do more to address Bermuda’s policing difficulties or hand over control, suggesting that he cannot do his job effectively because the Governor “is solely responsible for the Bermuda Police Service”. Is the issue with policing a lack of control?
Acting Police Commissioner Roseanda Young suggests that it is actually government, not the governor, who is responsible for the number of officers on the island, along with recruiting, training and equipment. That due to the resources available, response times of police officers improved as a result of realignment in terms of shifting officers locations of patrol and start times, not the addition of resources. (emphasis added)
Interestingly, in today’s Royal Gazette Superintendent Michael Desilva suggested that the aim of recent restructuring in the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) was to better use the limited resources the BPS has at its disposal.
“Much of the feedback to date from our officers centres around operational logistical issues, including the need for more vehicles. The perennial staff shortage in the BPS is also an issue.” said Supr. Desilva
“However, given the shrinking resource pool, the BPS does not — and should not — deviate from its training standards.”
Yesterday’s Royal Gazette quoted Assistant Police Commissioner as having addressed the islands drug problems by suggesting
“There is a significant problem which clearly outstrips the resources Police and other agencies have to combat it effectively.”
More recently, via a police officer who wrote in to the www.politics.bm blog suggested:
“[There aren’t] enough cars for the new CAT patrol units, or the extra people in the station during the overlap created by the new shift system”
“The people of Bermuda surely aren’t aware that the police pay contract expired in Oct 2004. This is supposed to be a three year contract expiring in Oct 2007. They haven’t even come to the table yet.”
So, in recap, we have the Acting Police Commissioner, the Assistant Police Commissioner, the Superintendent along with an off the record police officer who are all suggesting that lack of resources are a core issue as to why we have inadequate policing. Yet none have supported Senator Burch’s claim.
So, here are the questions to ask yourself.
One, why is it that our Premier feels it is important that he has a motorcade of 3 police officers when we have such shortages of resources which are causing increasing thefts, break-ins and violence?
Two, if the government is ultimately responsible for resource allocation, as Acting Commissioner Young suggests, why do we have a wide segment of our police service suggesting that resource allocation is inadequate?
Three, how is it possible or even acceptable that the police pay contract still has not been negotiated in what is approaching three years?
Four, if the government cannot adequately manage the responsibilities that it has now with regards to the police service, how could it be expected to manage additional responsibilities?
Are the responsibilities held by government over the police force being managed effectively or should the governor delegate greater control of the police force to the government?