Categorized | National News

PSA Exec. Chairman: Police Tired

The recently imposed 12-hour shift is apparently taking a toll on the police.

According to Executive Chairman of the Police Staff Association (PSA) Dwight Smith, police officers are tired.

In hopes of curbing the country’s escalating crime woes, National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage last month announced longer work hours for police officers.

But during a press conference at the association’s Bank Lane office Friday, Mr. Smith said a lot of officers are overwhelmed by the new shift.

“If you were to ask me if they’re fatigued, I’d tell you yes,” he said.

“We are human. Everyone gets tired and their families are tired too. Wives and husbands and children are all tired. Police officers have families where they can’t even sit to the table and have breakfast with them.”

Mr. Smith went a step further to point out that officers are not being paid overtime.

“Four extra hours a day is 20 extra hours a week and I can assure you thatit’s much more than that. For example, those guys down at Central Detective Unit (CDU) work over 12 hours a day and have been doing so for quite some time. So, if they get off at 10:00p.m. and something big happens, depending on their expertise, they will have to come right back out and not for extra money,” he said.

The PSA Executive Chairman said his team is looking at the law in terms of the hours worked per week, in hopes of having the government pay officers overtime.

“We haven’t had an increment in 11 years,” he told reporters on Friday.

“Something has to be done about that. I also don’t want the Bahamian people to think we’re complaining. The officers are working around the clock, despite how they feel. These are good officers and I encourage all of them to continue the good job they’re doing. I’d say that though as a human, your body will get tired, we don’t want to get to a point where their bodies give out on them.”

But despite the fatigue, Mr. Smith dispelled claims that officers are staging industrial action as a result of the new shift system.

“No one is staging a sickout and we aren’t planning a sickout,” he said.

“My team and I went to all the stations and we talked to people and we found out that there are some officers who are out sick, but they have legitimate reasons. We attribute some of that sickness to poor working conditions. In most of the stations, the air-conditioning units don’t work and presence of mould is great.”

Dr. Nottage has said that those officers who are complaining about the long work days will remain on those shifts until things return to normal.

In fact, he recently told the Bahama Journal that the government will make decisions regarding its new crime plan from week to week and will adjust that plan accordingly.

At the time, he also asked officers to be more understanding.

“Everybody is concerned about crime. Everybody is fearful about crime. The people who are employed to seek to prevent crime and to detect crime are the Royal Bahamas Police Force; that is their job,” he said.

“We are bringing in 150 Defence Force officers. The reason for that is to provide more policemen, particularly in hotspots, but it also buffers them somewhat from excessive hours. So, it’s not like the same amount of officers are now being required to do this extra work, but we have brought in additional bodies to assist them in doing so.”

At last count, this year’s murder count stood at 84.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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