Budget: plans to strengthen police service
A rise in the Ministry of National Security's budget will enable upwards of 30 new police officers to be hired in the coming year, The Royal Gazette can reveal.
The boost in the ministry's funding from the Government is expected to see more than ten new firearms officers appointed within the next few months.
A further 15 local recruits are expected to be hired as PCs later this summer, while a dozen new police cadet positions will also be filled by Bermudians.
Senator Jeff Baron declined to discuss details of the ministry's budgetary allowance that will be announced by Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, in the House of Assembly this Friday.
However, Mr Baron told The Royal Gazette said he was “very excited” about his first budget as the Minister of National Security.
“In the 2016 Throne Speech we said that we would continue to support recruitment and employment in the Bermuda Police Service by adding to the numbers, and specifically adding to the number of firearm officers,” he added.
“It's vital we continue to sustain and provide strong enforcement capabilities within the service, and that has to be supported by recruitment.
“When I first became minister I wanted to set a new tempo and tune in the way things were being done in the ministry.
“Public safety is a huge part of that and this Government is committed to making Bermuda safer.”
Last year, the budget for the Bermuda Police Service increased marginally by $172,000 to $64,595,000; of which $46 million was expected to be paid out in salaries.
According to the 2016-17 budget booklet, employee numbers within the force in all departments were expected to go from 535 in 2015-16 to 529 in 2016-17, including an increase of two from 442 to 444 in the Commissioner's Office.
That small increase in government funding came after a year of upheaval in the force when the Commissioner of Police, Michael DeSilva, announced a handful of redundancies.
In 2016 police agreed to reinstate furlough days and agreed to a pay freeze as part of a deal between the Bermuda Government and the Bermuda Police Association. This year's budget increase should come as welcome news for the police service.
Mr Baron said: “The 2017–2018 budget will continue to invest in our community outreach projects that have proved so successful, and it will further strengthen the social coalitions that we have built up.
“The community are beginning to win back their neighbourhoods and we want to continue to invest in that.”