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Police chief stands by decision on long hours

  • Ellison Greenslade.

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Oct 07, 2013

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Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade said yesterday the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) will remain on an extended 12-hour shift as long as is necessary to keep the country safe.

This came after the Police Staff Association (PSA) said officers are “tired” of working the longer hours and are not being paid overtime.

During an interview with The Nassau Guardian, the commissioner said he could not reveal when the longer shift would be reversed.

“We will continue to employ strategies to reduce crime,” Greenslade said. “I cannot divulge intimate details to criminals by public pronouncements as to specifically when and how we will adjust our strategies.”

Greenslade said he is proud of police officers who go beyond the call of duty.

“They are producing excellent results and the public is grateful,” he said. “All officers are working, seniors and juniors.

“[The] Royal Bahamas Police Force will continue to work to make our country safer. If long hours are required to make this happen and to keep officers on the streets, this is what we will continue to do.”

At a press conference on Friday, PSA Executive Chairman Dwight Smith said police officers are “tired” after weeks of working the 12-hour shifts.

Smith also lamented the fact that officers are not receiving compensation for the additional hours of work.

When asked to respond to the PSA’s concerns about overtime pay, the commissioner said officers in The Bahamas are well compensated.

“Police officers receive good salaries and benefits,” he said. “Recent legislation has improved financial benefits for officers even more.

“In these tough economic times worldwide, police officers in The Bahamas have a lot to be thankful for.”

On Friday, Smith said officers feel worn out.

"Police officers are not super beings,” he said.

“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."

Smith added: "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.”

He said the association is working to get police the pay they deserve and added that police work an additional 20 hours each week.

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 before the government announced the new crime fighting strategy.

Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said recently that he did not know how long the 12-hour shift would last.

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