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Police audit points to concerns with reserves program

An audit into the reserves branch of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) revealed that the program was not operating in an “optimal manner” and led, in some circumstances, to victims being “denied swift justice”.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames tabled the audit in Parliament yesterday.

The audit, which outlined five main issues that were detrimental to the overall success of the branch, was initiated after the completion of a manpower audit on the traditional sector of the force. 

Among the five issues outline in the audit, the report noted that there were no proper systems in place to accurately account for the strength of the branch. 

“The reserves program operated on 15 islands and triangulation had to be used to identify as many of the enlistees as possible,” the audit said.

“Furthermore, of the 1,255 reserves identified, approximately 786 or 61.2 percent were active and 487 or 38.8 percent were inactive and had not reported to duty in over a year. 

“In fact, some persons had never reported for duty since being enlisted.” 

The report called it “disturbing” that the program had no standardize definition for active or inactive officers, noting that the payroll list was used as the baseline to determine who had reported for duty during any period for 2018. 

Reservists have the same roles and responsibilities as career officers when on duty, but they were not treated like other members of the traditional force when they failed to report for duty, the report stated. 

“Consequently, when officers failed to report for duty it had dire consequences, as productivity on the entire organization could be affected,” the audit said.

“For example, when reserve officers failed to report for duty, specialty officers such as those in the scientific services may be redeployed from their respective duties to serve in capacities designed for reserves. 

“This had the potential to cause rippling effects because it meant that evidence could not be processed in a timely manner, as there were no officers able to perform such tasks. 

“This in turn meant that the victims of crime and/or police investigations were left to wait and/ or reports were delayed in reaching the attorney general’s office, thereby causing a backlog and meanwhile the victims were being denied swift justice.”

The audit also pointed to the poor management of the entire reserves program due to the lack of adequate supervision and management, as well as the fact that the branch did not have appropriate language and policies that allowed for clearly defined expectations for the performances of enlisted personnel.

“Lastly, due to poor management and neglect of the reserves program over the years, it was impossible to determine the systematic association between the successful achievements of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the role of the police reserves branch played, in accomplishing the same,” the report added. 

“There was a lack of proper procedures to properly account for all reserves; lack of clearly defined duties and responsibilities for each rank; the lack of a proper monitoring system to inform human resources activities; and the methods used to collect data by the police force had all contributed to missed opportunities to assess this sector of the force.” 

Sloan Smith

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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