The door has now been opened for older men and women to join the Royal Barbados Police Force.
However, Attorney General Dale Marshall says time will tell if the adjustment will result in an increase in recruits at the Regional Police Training Centre (RPTC).
In light of decreasing interest in joining the Force, Marshall this evening revealed that Cabinet had amended the legislation which required persons to be between the ages of 18 and 30 to do so.
Speaking at the 143rd Passing Out Parade and Graduation Ceremony at the RPTC’s Seawell, Christ Church headquarters, the Attorney General said that age limit had now been raised to 35.
“We consider that in today’s Barbados a maximum age limit of 30 is simply too low if we are going to expect to recruit an increasing number of police officers. Cabinet has therefore just agreed that the legislation will be amended to increase the upper limit from 30 to 35,” he said.
He said restrictions on height and chest size requirements would also be adjusted.
But in an interview with Barbados TODAY shortly after, Marshall said there was no evidence to suggest that raising the age limit would attract more police officers.
“I have no idea. I’m not even going to begin to guess at that, but we recognize that a lot of the restrictions that are still in place are largely irrelevant in today’s environment.
“If it increases the intake that would be perfect, but the truth is, based on the intelligence that we have and based on the advice we received from the Commissioner, it would open up some more opportunities. So if it is five more police officers that is still a good thing,” Marshall said.
“I am not about to predict that we are going to be able to increase the intake by five per cent or 20 per cent, but the point is, to the extent that it is an unnecessary restriction.”
The Attorney General said the move to shift the age range came as there continued to be a steady decline in recruits.
During yesterday’s ceremony, only 19 recruits graduated.
He said while there were 1,728 police officers in the force, there still remained 280 vacancies.
Marshall said he had also advised Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith to improve the force’s marketing strategy.
In delivering their addresses, both Griffith and Commandant of the RPTC John Maxwell, told the graduates they needed to put their best foot forward at all times.
They cautioned that with the emergence of cellphones and other recording devices, they were always being scrutunized by members of the public.
“You should be aware that on every occasion that you come in contact with members of the public you’re being assessed and measured, therefore it is imperative that you be professional, courteous and provide the best quality service,” Maxwell said.
“In this technological environment where smart devices are ubiquitous, everyone considers himself or herself a videographer. They seek to capture the unprofessional conduct when and wherever it raises its ugly head, so a word to the wise is enough,” he added.
Police constable Dale-Ann Wilkinson claimed the coveted trophy for Best Recruit.
Wilkinson captured the lion’s share of awards, also landing the trophies for Best at Physical Training (Female); Best at Multi-Disciplined Subjects; Best at Officers’ Safety Training and First Aid; Best at Police Duty Subjects; Student with the Highest Aggregate and Most Outstanding Student.