Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.
By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
ROYAL Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) recruitment numbers are down, according to Minister of National Security Marvin Dames, who said he is concerned the “numbers in the organisation have been declining as opposed to remaining constant or increasing.”
In an interview with reporters outside of the Cabinet Office, Mr Dames said a recent audit of the RBPF revealed that since 2011, attrition in the RBPF has been outpacing recruitment.
It’s not clear who is conducting the audit, but Mr Dames said it will be released to the public “hopefully in January”.
He also said a similar manpower audit is now being conducted in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and the Department of Correctional Services.
“For far too long we have just been recruiting not knowing what we are recruiting, who we are recruiting and why we are recruiting. We have basically completed our audit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and we are running through the draft now and making some amendments where necessary so hopefully some time in January we will release the results of that audit,” Mr Dames said.
“But one of the things that audit is telling us, is that between 2011 and now, that attrition in the Royal Bahamas Police Force has been outpacing recruitment. So what does that say? The numbers in the organisation have been declining as opposed to remaining constant or increasing and so that is a concern for us and now we will use that audit to help us bring the numbers up to where it ought to be... This is a scientific study, we have been looking at demographics and we have been looking at growth in areas, we have been looking at crime levels in a particular area because one of the things that we want to do is to make certain at the end of the day, that the Bahamian people are well served. Meaning that there are adequate number of officers and resources at these policing divisions to serve those respective communities.”
Last week, RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel could not give a date when more than 100 new recruits will receive a call to start their 16-week training. It is still unclear why the recruitment process for the RBDF was stalled, however Mr Dames said those recruits should begin their training “any day now”.
“So yes, we are about to take in recruits in all of these areas in the upcoming weeks. (In) the defence force there are more than 100 plus recruits that are projected any day now, same for the Royal Bahamas Police Force and same thing for her majesty’s Department of Corrections,” he said.
“And those numbers will begin this process of helping us reach the required levels for these organisations and so we will now at the end of the day have many officers we need.”
In October, during his contribution in the House of Assembly, Mr Dames said an audit of manpower in the RBPF revealed the institution is top-heavy and recent promotional exercises by the Christie administration placed burden on the performance of the force.
“Preliminary findings…indicate that the police force is top-heavy and that the organisation’s equilibrium command structure and performance are being impacted. It was found that the recent massive promotion exercise resulted in an oversubscription of gazetted officers especially at the superintendent and assistant commissioners level,” he said at the time. “In fact, five of the current ten assistant commissioners are performing the same duties they performed prior to being promoted. Simply put, there were not enough vacancies for these officers to fill.”
In an act many considered to be politically motivated as the general election neared, 851 officers were promoted in May under the Christie administration, including two to the rank of chief superintendent’s, 76 to superintendent’s rank and 90 to the assistant superintendent’s rank.
Prior to that, ten officers were promoted to the assistant commissioner of police’s position. One officer was promoted to senior assistant commissioner of police.