Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Oct 05, 2013
Police officers are “tired” after weeks of working 12-hour shifts, and they are not receiving compensation for the additional hours of work, Police Staff Association (PSA) Executive Chairman Inspector Dwight Smith said yesterday.
"Police officers are not super beings,” said Smith at a press conference.
“They are human beings just like any one of us, and just how you may have pain or may suffer, they [feel] the same thing."
Police were placed on 12-hour shifts in early September after an increase in violent crimes.
Twelve murders were recorded in a 13-day period leading to the announcement.
Since the introduction of a new crime plan, only two murders have been reported.
"Police are working," Smith said. "If you ask [them] how they feel, they're going to tell you that they will work. But is fatigue setting in? Yes. They are tired.
“They are saying that. Not only are the police tired, their families are tired. They are tired of having their husbands and wives out for such long periods of time.
"…As an association, we will not lie and say the officers won’t get tired. If you continue to work an excessive amount of hours your body will tell on you. So we are still looking at the whole issue of the 12-hour shift."
While acknowledging a reported decrease in violent crimes in recent weeks, Smith said the 12-shift is not necessarily linked to that.
He said the reduction in crime has more to do with the increase in saturation patrols.
Police hit the streets in greater numbers after National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage announced the plan.
An additional 350 officers joined the front line after officers attached to the police band, in administration and in support services were deployed.
Another issue the PSA is grappling with is a lack of overtime pay, Smith said.
He said the association is working to get police the pay they deserve.
"We sent something to the powers that be in terms of compensation," he said. "We want to remind Bahamians that police have yet to receive overtime…We get paid for 40 hours and that's all we get paid for...Every man who works, looks for reward at the end of the day.”
Smith noted that police work an additional 20 hours each week.
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said recently he did not know how long the 12-hour shift would last.