Categorized | National News

Union Chief Praises Police 12-Hour Shift

The government’s decision to place police officers on a 12-hour shift system has earned high marks from Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) President John Pinder, who said the new strategy appears to be yielding positive results.

However, Mr. Pinder urged the government to enact certain measures to ensure the officers’ overall well being is protected.

He said the strategy should be considered a special project in place for a specific time period and he recommended that the officers be treated like other employees in the public service who are paid a fixed special projects rate of $12.50 per hour after eight hours.

“I also think that the officers should work no more than three 12-hour shifts and then they be given two days off,” Mr. Pinder said.

“Additionally, when officers return to work after the two-days off, their shifts should change from day to night or night to day wherever possible. The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) should identify areas where there is no need for 12-hour shifts and use those officers to allow for the two-days off.”

The BPSU president further recommended that the RBPF consider the BPSU’s Medical Plan to provide the very same coverage for officers at a 10 per cent discount.

Mr. Pinder has also called for consideration to be given to officers that are married to other officers, both working the 12-hour shift and recommended they be given time off to spend together.

“The Defense Force Officers deployed for this project carry out the task of the protection of the government buildings and other assets and assist with school policing,” he said. “This along with replacing more police officers from Urban Renewal can put more trained police officers on the streets.”

According to the union leader, officers on the front lines should be allowed to keep their weapons at all times and he suggested that no public announcement be made when the special project has ended.

“These recommendations – I believe if implemented – may keep our hard over-worked officers motivated to continue to give their best during this crisis,” Mr. Pinder said. “We must commend them on a job well done during this very challenging time.

I believe it is very important for officers to receive adequate rest in order not to impede their judgment.”

The Police Staff Association (PSA) has made similar recommendations to the government about the new 12-hour shift system.

PSA Chairman Dwight Smith said he has met with Mr. Pinder and is grateful for his support in conveying the concerns of the officers.

The PSA has been asking for a meeting with the Commissioner of Police, the Minister of Labour and the Minister of National Security and has threatened legal action if serious consideration is not given.

However, Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade has indicated that there are no plans to end the 12-hour shift system and he has cautioned officers against threats of legal action.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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