The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) remains hamstrung by a “significant” manpower shortage, with Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith suggesting that an additional 241 officers were needed to adequately satisfy domestic demand.
Of the current compliment of 1,288 officers, there are just over 260 females.
During a media conference at Police Headquarters to report on the crime situation in the country for the first six months of the year, Griffith explained that though individuals were still applying for jobs in the Force, many were proving to be unsuitable candidates.
“Already we are having numbers coming to us to join the Force, but the question of suitability is important. Merely to hire people because you want to fill those vacancies will not work. In fact, you probably will end up with more problems than we can handle at this time,” he said.
“That is a significant problem to fill those vacancies because you need to fill those vacancies with suitable persons,” the police chief stressed.
He also suggested that the time had come “when policing has to be made more attractive if we are to get those individuals who are required to execute such a difficult and varied job”.
“Police officers give so much of their time and I am sure that if there were benefits that went to better allowances for extra duty, conditions of service as it relates to health [and] housing allowance, more people would join. All those things would impact positively,” Griffith said while suggesting that if the Force could attract even half of the desired 241 officers that would “aid tremendously”.
“We live in an economic space where we have to be real and so if we could merely satisfy those numbers we would be happy,” he added.
It was only last month that newly appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce had voiced concern that young people were not attracted to the Force because the pay was not good enough.
“The salaries are not as attractive as we would want them to be,” Boyce said, a sentiment that was also expressed last November by President of the Barbados Police Association (BPA) Mervin Grace.
At the time, the then Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite had also pointed out that the significant manpower shortage within the Force was impacting on its operations, adding that when coupled with increased workloads, this sometimes resulted in a failure to produce files in a timely manner.