The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) needs another 200 good men.
Assistant Commissioner of Police William Yearwood said Thursday the Force is understaffed and young people of quality are needed to help boost the numbers. The RBPF currently has about 1,300 officers in its ranks.
“It is over 200-plus officers the Force is short of. Because of persons who have retired, some . . . have resigned and been dismissed from the Force, we are in need of young persons to come forward and join, particularly males. We do have a good quota of females but we are in need of males,” he disclosed.
“It means we have [fewer] police officers on the ground, which is less visibility. We have been doing our . . . best with what we have presently, but certainly having those added numbers would make it easier for our members in terms of the workload.”
Yearwood spoke about the RBPF’s staffing issue on the sidelines of a celebration ceremony for eight teenagers who successfully completed the Prince’s Trust International Team Programme.
He told reporters that more needs to be done to encourage young people to enter the RBPF, including offering more attractive salaries and benefits.
“We have a lot of young men who are hyped to join the Force. Some of them have the education but they choose not to come to the Force. There are certain things that need to be done by authorities to make the Force more viable to encourage others to join the Force . . . . Salary is one, of course, that can be looked at, and also certain benefits and allowances that can be given,” the senior cop said.
Meantime, commenting on Monday night’s killing of 58-year-old Colleen Payne as she attempted to use an RBC automated teller machine at University Drive, Assistant Commissioner Yearwood suggested that the apparent surge in crime was a result of not only the flow of illegal guns into the country but also because some young people were choosing crime over work.
“It is unfortunate that the lady lost her life, but these young persons intend to get what they can by taking other people’s property. It is because they don’t want to work. I believe the surge in crime is because of the attitude of young people,” he contended.
Adding that there was also “a problem with firearms entering our country illegally”, Yearwood said: “We have heard the sentiments of our Acting Commissioner in relation to that, and that is one of the reasons we have so many crimes right now. But we intend to do our utmost.”
The senior police officer assured that lawmen were on top of the situation.
“The crime is not out of hand. I find it is comparative to what we have had in the past years. It is just that we get them happening quickly sometimes. I believe . . . we will be able to make a dent and pull back on what is going on.”
Thursday, Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith revealed that firearms were used in 15 of the 19 murders committed so far this year – representing nearly 80 per cent of all unlawful killings – compared to 16 of 22 for all of last year, or 72 per cent of murders.
He said lawmen were working closely with other law enforcement partners to try to curb the entry of illegal weapons.