Police association to hold emergency meeting
Police officers will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss an “impasse” in negotiations over conditions.
Sergeant Andrew Harewood, the Bermuda Police Association chairman, said last night that some critical issues remained unresolved in talks with the Government.
He explained that negotiations included a call for officers to be provided with legal cover if they become the subject of an investigation into an incident during the course of their duties.
Other problems still to be settled include government employee health insurance contributions.
Mr Harewood said that officers who took on roles in firearms, explosives and diving teams did so voluntarily, putting themselves at additional risk with the added concern of potentially funding legal representation as well as a portion of healthcare.
He added: “Police officers are now forced to really question whether or not they will continue, or want to continue, providing this service voluntarily and how it would affect the officers personally.
“The question is, ‘would I want to increase the risk to myself?’
“Officers are seriously considering reducing the financial liability to them by not performing these functions.”
Mr Harewood said that the emergency general meeting tomorrow was to “discuss negotiations and the impasse” and consider how to proceed.
It was his understanding that the Government wanted to take talks to arbitration.
However, the BPA chairman feared that “forcing” certain conditions on officers would affect their performance.
Acting Commissioner of Police Antoine Daniels explained: “Armed police officers as well as those assigned to both the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team and Underwater Search and Recovery Team have all been selected, trained, accredited and authorised by the Commissioner of Police to perform in these specific roles.”
He said officers applied for the positions and were selected “based on their ability, fitness levels, skills and length of service”.
Mr Daniels added: “It should also be noted that the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team is a joint team that includes members of the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service and the Royal Bermuda Regiment, while the Underwater Search and Recovery Team is also a joint team, which includes members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment and the Bermuda Reserve Police.”
A request for comment was e-mailed to the Government’s communications team last night.
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