Even though the police officers will not be directly impacted by job cuts to the public service, Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) is concerned that termination of civilian clerical officers within that Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) will take its toll on police man power.
On Tuesday, during a meet and greet session held at the headquarters of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), recently elected CTUSAB president Edwin O’Neale suggested the void left by the departure of the clerical officers would have to be filled by police officers who could have otherwise engaged in more meaningful duties.
“We are concerned by this business of the employment of the clerical officers. Over the years, there has been what is termed as the ‘civilianization’ of some duties within the Royal Barbados Police Force. I am informed that some clerical officers from within the police force will be going. This is going to create a void. It seems to be a void that has to be filled and obviously police officers are going to have to fill it,” said Yearwood.
The CTUSAB president contended this development could have far reaching consequences as the police force was already stretched to the limit.
Additionally, the head of the umbrella body of labour rights advocates, challenged Government’s decision to remove incentives for those in essential services to perform overtime duties.
“As a congress we are responding to the concerns that our member units have. One of these would be capping of flexibility allowances especially in these critical areas like, nurses, police, fire officers and prison officers,” he said.
Back in July, Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith, revealed that the force was hamstrung by a “significant” manpower shortage, suggesting that an additional 241 officers were needed.
Griffith, who was at the time commenting on the crime situation in the country for the first six months of the year, explained that though individuals were still applying for jobs with the police, 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,” 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.