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Police concerned as budget talks stall

The Bermuda Police Association has expressed concerns about an impasse in budget negotiations with the Bermuda Government.

In a statement released tonight, Police Association chairman Andrew Harewood said the association originally entered into negotiations to formulate “reasonable concessions” to help the country without placing its members under an “undue financial and psychological burden”.

“The Government has reduced the police budget by 7 per cent in 2014, 5 per cent in 2015 and an additional 3 per cent is anticipated in 2016 — approximately $10 million in total,” he said. “The BPA has been contributing to Government's budget reduction strategy and our members have saved Government approximately $7 million.

“The Government is now asking us to make further contributions to its budget reduction strategy in the region of 12 per cent to 18 per cent. Our members rejected this proposal and Government is seeking to force us into arbitration despite our desire to continue negotiating in good faith.

“The BPA entered into the negotiation process recognising that every person in Bermuda should give concessions. The recent reduction in staff and other austerity measures have added additional stress and hardship to our members.”

He said that recent testing had shown that one quarter of police officers have high blood pressure at critical levels, and that at least 11 of the 419 serving officers suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, also known as “suicide disease”.

Sergeant Harewood added: “The continued impasse with Government is directly affecting the morale, health and the welfare of police officers.

“The BPA is committed to helping the country by returning to the negotiating table with the Government so that both parties can attempt to reach an accord that is acceptable to the membership of the BPA and the Government of Bermuda.”

• For the full Bermuda Police Association release, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”.

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Published December 17, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 17, 2015 at 8:15 am)

Police concerned as budget talks stall

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