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Overtime cost has been halved, says DeSilva

Commissioner Michael DeSilva

The Bermuda Police Service has cut its overtime spending by more than a half over the past five years.

The disclosure was made by Commissioner Michael DeSilva in Supreme Court this week as he gave evidence in a civil case in which an officer is seeking damages after he suffered chronic health problems as a result of toxic mould festering in two police stations.

Mr DeSilva, who was appearing as a witness in the lawsuit between Emmerson Donald and the Bermuda Government, was asked about the financial constraints on the service.

He revealed that when he took over as commissioner in 2009 overtime payments within the service totalled about $8 million — the highest figure in the history of the force.

“We have worked to reduce that number over the years and it came down to $6 million, then down to $3.5 million,” Mr DeSilva told the court.

“The year 2014-15 we were down to $3.2 million and for this financial year ending March 31 we are about the same: $3.2 million. It shows that due to very strict austerity measures we have reduced the cost of overtime in the service. For 2016-17 I would say it will stay around the $3 million mark.”

Mr DeSilva also referred to the impasse between the Government and the Bermuda Police Association during his testimony.

He revealed that the present size of the service for the next financial year of 405 officers and ten cadets represented a reduction of 40 officers over a three-year period. “There have been overtime reductions, reductions in overseas training courses and reduction in costs of equipment and uniform and everyday operating costs,” he added.