A mother’s plea: Open St George’s Police station 24 hours
A St George’s mother is calling for the Old Town’s police station to open 24 hours a day after no officers were available to deal with a disturbing incident involving her son.
Bell Hunt said she went to the station to seek help for her 54-year-old son who had become aggressive as he was suffering medical withdrawal symptoms on Monday afternoon.
However she claims she had to wait while officers were sent from Southside because the St George’s facility is not open round the clock.
St George’s West MP Kim Swan, the United Bermuda leader, helped calm her son down, she said, as it took 20 to 30 minutes for police to arrive from St David’s. Mr Swan described the situation as life-threatening.
Mrs Hunt told this newspaper: “I’m concerned that at four o’clock I went to the police station and there was nobody able to deal with this emergency.”
For many years, residents have complained their town needs better police coverage.
Mr Swan said in a statement: “Long suffering residents of St. George’s have been fighting the absence of a 24/7 police station for a decade.
“Contrary to repeated promises, the St George’s Police Station still is not functioning 24/7.
“On Monday a frantic resident approached me as I stood talking to a constituent outside of the St George’s Police Station about a serious life-threatening issue.
“To my amazement the station was closed and a phone called revealed that officers were dispatched from Southside Police Station. As a result, I proceeded to walk to the scene and offered assistance. The Police did arrive later to take over the situation.
“Notwithstanding, it is frustrating for residents to have a renovated police station but it is not operating as promised.
“I heard that the Mayor, Kenny Bascome, and his committee will be taking this matter up with the Governor.
“This issue has been ongoing for nearly ten years and is a sore subject for area residents.”
Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva said last night: “The Bermuda Police Service has consistently clarified this issue through the local media.
“St George’s Police Station is staffed by a civilian Station Duty Officer (SDO) 24 hours a day to handle routine enquiries from members of the public. Community Action Team (CAT) officers work out of the station, but they do not work 24 hours a day.
“From time to time the station is closed temporarily when we are short of staff, particularly SDOs. For these occasions there is a telephone outside the station that connects the caller to Southside Police Station, which is the operational police station that provides service to the east end.
“Our commitment to the St. George’s community has always been to provide quality policing services across the board, no matter what the status of the police station is, and we are doing exactly that.
“In all cases of emergency, wherever you are in Bermuda, members of the public are advised to call 911 not a police station so that our dispatchers may direct the nearest emergency responder to the scene.”