City doubles budget to fund extra police officers
The City of Hamilton is to almost double its original budget to fund extra police on the beat.
The Extra Duty Police Officer Programme launched in October 2020 with a commitment of $57,000 will now be boosted by a further $54,000 enabling continued high-visibility policing in North Hamilton.
Since its inception there have been 1,252 hours of patrols, seven arrests made including three for thefts and one for carrying a bladed weapon, as well as 761 parking and traffic tickets issued.
Dwayne Caines, chief executive for the City of Hamilton, said that the biggest concern communicated by residents and businesses in North Hamilton was safety.
Mr Caines said: “We worked with the Bermuda Police Service as well as the area residents and businesses to find a solution. In the short term, we decided to invest in additional policing for the area, which is how the Extra Duty Police Officer Programme came about.
“This will give the BPS and the City the opportunity to strengthen our relationships with residents and businesses in North Hamilton and to support that community.”
The initiative funds two officers working four hours, five days a week in the North Hamilton area patrolling at varying times and working in partnership with the City Parish Constable.
Mr Caines added: “The presence of the officers not only discourages antisocial behaviour and criminal activity but it also provides targeted enforcement of parking violations … and assists with identifying ‘fly tipping’ offenders – issues which area residents have told us are particularly vexing.
“And, in the eight short months that it has been operational, this programme has done just that. North Hamilton is experiencing a trend of low crime rates and antisocial behaviour which, we believe, is a direct result of these patrols.”
He said other “unexpected benefits” of the programme included information gathering pertaining to challenges including trip hazards and the need for additional signage.
Nadine Clarke-Dillas, owner of Nadz Beauty, said: “This is definitely a positive programme. The officers are very pleasant and will come into the area businesses and ask if everything is okay and whether there has been any trouble that day.
“I personally have never had any feelings of being afraid in the area; it is a safe place. But some people find it is reassuring to see the cops out on the beat here, making sure everything is okay. People who are normally apprehensive to come into the area are reassured now; they are more relaxed to come in and shop.”
Chief Inspector Alex Rollin, the officer in charge of the initiative for the BPS, said that the community response to the programme has been “overwhelmingly positive”.
He said: “Our officers continuously interact with business owners, merchants and area residents who have expressed appreciation at the continued presence of police.
“Our officers have noted that instances of alcohol consumption on the streets have curtailed since the start of the programme and statistics show a decrease in crime rates.”
One area business owner said there had been a dramatic decrease in people riding their motorcycles on the sidewalk helping to alleviate safety concerns.