Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle said yesterday the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) will continue to incrementally promote its officers but noted that there won’t be any promotions within the senior ranks for some time, adding “that ship has sailed”.
Sixty-eight senior officers were promoted in April.
“What you see now is what it will be until the government is able to afford [it],” he said.
“Even with the shortage that we have now, we have to [wait] and hopefully we have sufficient funds to do it. It’s not all about promotions but, yes, when that time comes, we want to do it.”
Rolle said he has put in place “some austerity measures to help and curtail the costs” within the force.
His comments come one week after Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest announced that the government will defer civil servant promotions in order to allow economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Dorian — both of which had detrimental effects on the Bahamian economy.
“The vacancies that exist [are] too much to do one time,” Rolle said.
“We take into account the condition [of] the economy. So, we will not be able to do all of them at once. So, you have to do it incrementally to try to get the numbers to where we want.
“The Bahamas is a small country but it’s very big when you come down to policing because you have all of the islands that have to be policed. We want the people to feel safe and, as long as people do not feel safe, we have to respond to that.”
He said he is putting in place a structure that will allow the force to manage crime and keep the public safe.
Rolle said that structure “calls for certain amounts of ranks”.
He said he served a chief superintendent with a letter on Tuesday “advising him to begin leave”.
“Last month, there was one,” the commissioner said.
“I have two superintendents that will be going home in June.
“They will be receiving their letter either today or tomorrow. I have another superintendent who starts in September, two in November, two in January. So, we are really short and so, we have then to replace those.”
Rolle assumed office as commissioner in March.
On April 20, the RBPF announced that three chief superintendents had been promoted to assistant commissioners of police.
One week later, it announced the promotion of 68 senior officers.
A manpower audit of RBPF found that the organization was too top-heavy with senior officers.
The audit, which was conducted in 2017, found that there was an 800-officer deficit in the rank of constable.
The audit noted that for the rank of chief superintendent, “the RBPF policy has job descriptions for only 11 head officers, but 23 persons hold this rank”.
It recommended that only 11 officers hold that post as “review of the rank structure and associated primary duties revealed absolutely no differences in the job descriptions of superintendents and chief superintendents”.
It also found that the promotional practices on the force are “outdated, lack consistency and standardization”.