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Police to get additional manpower, vehicles

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 30, 2013

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As the Royal Bahamas Police Force prepares to roll out other phases of its new crime fighting plan, it will soon receive additional manpower and other resources, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said yesterday.

According to Nottage, the force’s patrolling capacity will increase substantially within the next few weeks as the police will receive 80 new vehicles.

He said the new vehicles should increase police response times.

Nottage said 18 vehicles are already on New Providence and are being outfitted. He said another 22 vehicles are being shipped to the country.

“And then there’s another 40 that will service the mobile patrol and the stations so that we will stop those officers from telling people there are no cars to attend to their issues,” Nottage said.

He said the police force meanwhile is increasing its manpower on the ground.

An additional 350 officers were recently deployed to the front lines in response to a recent spate in violent crime.

“What we are trying to do now is to prevent crime,” Nottage said.

“I think for the past two months since we established our new plan the [number] of violent crimes [has] gone down significantly but we've got a long, long way to go.

“But we have to have a program that is sustainable so we need a lot more men and women on the ground. We have started two new classes and another one is about to start. So we'll have more than 100 recruits in training and as soon as they're finished, we will repeat that.”

Nottage noted that the police force is receiving assistance from just over 100 defence force marines.

He said another 50 marines will be rotated into the system as necessary.

The marines were deployed to sedentary duties normally carried out by police officers.

Nottage said the marines have been doing a commendable job in their new roles.

He said the ministry and the police force will now concentrate efforts on reviewing the large number of recommendations that came out of a crime forum on Monday night, with a view to implementing some.

The minister said work has to be done to improve relations between the police force and the public.

“We had a lot of criticism of officers and their relations with the public, so we know that there is a lot of work that we have to do with attitude changes of officers in their interaction with members of the public,” he said. “People of certain communities feel like they are treated differently from people of other areas...  But I think it's important for us to correct that.”

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