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Bethell says police officers ‘not tired’

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 15, 2013

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Despite claims from the Police Staff Association (PSA) that officers are worn out after more than a month of working extra hours, Assistant Police Commissioner Leon Bethell insisted police are not tired.

Bethell said officers are prepared to work 12-hour shifts for as long as it takes to get crime levels down.

"We are going to continue with our 12-hour shifts to make sure that we bring things under control so that anybody who believes that they can come out on the road, commit a crime and get away, they are going to have something coming because the officers are motivated," he said.

"These officers, they are not tired. I am not tired. I cannot get tired. These officers will be out here to deal with all the crooks who believe that the police are going to ease up with this 12-hour shift. We are not going to ease up with this 12-hour shift. A lot of things are happening for the Bahamian people."

PSA Executive Chairman Inspector Dwight Smith said recently that police are tired from working the extra hours.

Smith added that police are not being compensated for the extra time.

On Friday, Smith threatened to take legal action if the association does not hear from government officials about compensation for officers in the next 14 days.

The PSA sent a letter to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie on Friday outlining the laws that dictate when government employees should receive overtime pay.

Smith said the association will give the Ministry of Finance two weeks to outline what compensation the government is willing to pay officers.

Bethell would not comment on the issue of compensation.

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.

Bethell said police cannot get tired after working for such a short period.

"A lot of police officers prior to CID (Criminal Investigation Department) turning over to CDU (Central Detective Unit) worked 12 hours for at least about 20 years,” he said.  “We have only worked one month… Look at me. I don't look tired to you."

Bethell said police expect to increase their resources in the coming months.

He said once that is done, there should be a further decrease in crimes, particularly street crimes.

"Officers will be spread all over New Providence trying to stop offenders before they strike and that's what we've been trying to do," he said.

"In the past weeks, we have had a few incidents but the perpetrators were caught. We are going to continue to go after these crooks.”

Bethell said police will no longer be sitting in stations waiting for something to happen.

"Everyone will be on patrol," he said.

Police hit the streets in greater numbers after National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage announced the plan on September 6.

An additional 350 officers joined the frontline after officers attached to the police band, in administration and in support services were deployed.

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