The Force Compromised By Manpower Shortage

Submitted by RUSERIOUS

Commissioner Dottin asking Barbadians to apply for openings

Hello friends it is I once again. I have to tell you that I used to work as a volunteer counsellor with the Police Juvenile Scheme. It is a good initiative, and I made many friends. I believe that everyone has a chance in life and deserves a second chance. There’s not very many evil or bad to the core persons in Barbados, just some wayward youngsters causing a lot of aggravation. I digress, that’s a little about me, since I blog semi regularly, today’s topic is about the recent Front page news story relative to a Policeman being allegedly kicked in the family jewels by a teenager.

Most of us keep up with the news and courts and we see a lot of teenagers getting charged for robbery and all kinds of stuff. So I asked a buddy of mine in the Force, what’s with teenagers kicking your *ss now? The individual told me that Police still get a lot of respect from known criminals, persons with criminal history, and most adults, but he said you see those teenagers and young adults? They are the ones to be afraid of, they never come quietly, they almost always fight.

Well fine, Police gotta face the people who resist from time to time, so use non lethal force right? Well yeah if they had them. The crux of this matter is, the Force is short in man power, we know this for a fact, and it’s getting shorter each year, vacancies have been at 100 or more for as long as I can remember, so they aren’t getting a surplus of recruits vs people leaving.

The policeman (We’ll Call him John POPO)  enlightened me that a lot of police are home injured. John said that within the last two to three years especially, that a large amount of police have been injured on duty struggling to restrain persons. He gave me a conservative figure at between 50-100 a year. He said very conservative. At least that maybe more. I said wow, so what type of injuries? Mostly minor non life threatening, but still you can’t do a police job with a broken finger right? In some cases he listed broken or sprained parts, like fingers, poked eyes, severe soft tissue injury (from being struck with an object or closed fist), head trauma, from being hit or kicked in the head etc etc…
He said all kinds of weird injures can happen to you especially your hands when trying to restrain people who are fighting kicking, screaming like wild animals. he said their injures speak for themselves.
He said their use of force policy is based on the UN policy which allows for firearm, baton, spray, Taser etc. He said the Force has them, but only the Special Unit carries them, the guys in blue… So it’s no wonder people respect them more, because I’d respect a guy a lot more too if he could shock me with 100,000 volts.

So I asked why don’t the normal uniform guys carry, the ones who come up on scenes first anyway? He said that they have the training, and some of the equipment, but not enough for everyone, so it hasn’t been issued to the normal patrolman.

I did some checking, I remember in 2004, there were pictures in the nation of the pepper spray and Taser which the present COP said would soon be issued to the average officer on patrol to give them other options rather than having to use a gun for everything. Then further down the road couple years later, 2007-2008 maybe? A policeman was struggling with a guy in the van stan over a scissors, he pulled his gun, and while struggling the gun went off and hit an innocent bystander who died, which was learned from the witness statements of those present to see.

Again after that incident more pictures of Tasers appeared in the paper with pepper spray and saying officers would be issued with them. Well it is now 2012 and still the task force are the only persons carrying them. Kinda weird isn’t it? I mean the task force travels around in jeeps with 4 guys in it carrying rifles, pepper spray, Tasers, and who knows what else. Then you’ve got Joe the patrol idiot riding around in pairs, with none of that stuff, and occasionally a gun… I would think you would give the officers at the numerical disadvantage, the gear, since 4 task force guys traveling around is pretty intimidating on its own.

So as the number of officers injuries piles up, the force gets shorter and shorter on man power. That guy in the motorcycle that crashed, he’s gone, he was chasing a guy who had a gun. The guy who got kicked in his precious groin he’s gone, well he’s gone for a few weeks at least. The three police who got beat up in city mall late last year, they are still out on injury.

I guess one can see how fast the number of injuries rack up and just how short on man power the force is. My thing is, they need to give the police things to protect themselves, if the present injury rate is allowed to increase or continue, then very soon police will be faced with two options, “no I won’t try to arrest that guy because I might get injured”… or they’ll keep trying and keep getting hurt and we’ll have five hundred policemen on injury leave.

People who argue against Tasers, have they really thought things through? I’d rather if I had a son giving the police trouble that they tased him rather than shot him. Less than 1% of people die from being tased. But how much you think die from being shot? So the argument is null and void. Gunshot is going to leave a serious injury or death, the Taser? Well in less than 1% of the incidents, you might die. I’ll take those odds any day. Just the fact that police carry Tasers or pepper spray will be a deterrent to people who want to fight anyway.

But damn they gotta do something to get this injured on the job thing under control and fast, or we will all suffer when it comes to crime and crime prevention, with not enough officers going around. Think about it the next time you are waiting at an accident for over an hour, and you are low on the priority response list. Mr COP, if you read or see this, I salute your professional force, best in the Caribbean if I do say so myself, but for all of our sakes, protect your men.

I thank John PO PO for giving me the information for this blog.

32 thoughts on “The Force Compromised By Manpower Shortage

  1. All I have to say is. . . . .well! well! well!

    The last administration treated our RBPF like 2nd class citizens and this lot doing the same if not worse.

    When are the people in authority in this country going to wake up to the fact that the RBPF is our 1st and last line of defense against those who would like to follow the road to anarchy. If the perps on the street see that the authorities are treating the members of our RBPF as if they were little boys and girls, just ask yourself, what would be the resultant reaction of those perps when shown these examples

    Give our men and women in blue what they need to do a proper job and take back control of our country before it gets too late! Are the examples of JAMAICA, GUYANA AND TRINIDAD & TOBAGO not enough for the relevant authorities here in BARBADOS to realise what is about to happen here if the conditions are not corrected sooner rather than later? I am only too well aware of how incidents are treated in Barbados. . . . . . . . . . . . . .every time something major occurs there is a howling and screaming by the population (and those in authority) for the usual 9 days time until the edge of the particular trauma has worn off and then its back to the SAME OLD ROUTINE! 1937 is not so long ago, just a mere 75 years ago! It happened once, it can happen again. A word to the wise should be sufficient. Ah lie?

  2. WHY bring politics into this by talking about the last administration treating policeman like second class citizens???
    HASNT this administration treated all Bajans in a way that will see Bjans voting them out next election -October 2012 ???
    CAN we not politicise this issue???


  3. @ de hood
    The last administration treated our RBPF like 2nd class citizens .

    On your reccomd… DLP is now in power, your turn,SHOW US YOUR LOVE…..put your money where your mouth is..GIVE THEM SALARY INCREASES….(mainly in the lower ranks)

  4. Who wants to join or stay in an organization with uninspiring leadership, with no vision, and with little respect for the contributions made by the rank and file…?
    … oh Yes!!! foreigners – who cant do any better…. get some for the army too….

  5. Master Blogger in case you haven’t read “In Search of a Perfect Blogger ”
    Onions is a political blogger and will set about to complete this objective when ever the opportunity presents itself. I seek not to distort only to inform..

  6. How are the police in Barbados going to use more “force” or weapons to deal with criminals when you have Lawyers using the “police brutality” card at every opportunity.

    Anyhow, nuh lotta long talk. The police in Barbados have been underpaid and under equipped for the last 50 years and no political party will do anything about it unless major crime escalates dramatically and affects the big ups and their families directly.


    • @Hants

      Despite the protestations of the COP serious crime is on the rise.


      Nothing wrong with being a political blogger but it does not mean that one should be predictably partisan.

      Then what is the point if credibility goes. We have seen some on this blog who many just delete the comments because the message is known.

    • The COP has been sounding off of late that several jobs now being performed by police will be transferred to civilian. There is also the promise that if Barbadians are not applying for the 100+ jobs available that the government will have to look within the region for recruits. When that happens we will be sure to get a hue and cry.

  7. @ David
    We all have our partisan-ness although some tend to believe that theirs are more well concealed than others. Some appreciate more frankness and less gobble. As Shakespeare ..the whole worlds a stage and we all actors…we all got our part to play.
    Onions speak and others listen… happens when the material is worthy.
    Less gobble….pose facts =..worthy

  8. David wrote “if Barbadians are not applying for the 100+ jobs available that the government will have to look within the region for recruits.”

    That is not a solution to the problem.

    Raise the salary of policemen to a decent level and more balanced educated Bajans will join the force.

    • @Hatsie

      You wish although desirable is fraught with issues. Police salaries are tied to civil service scales, if you touch the police you have to touch all unless you create a separate scale for the police. The previous BLP government was prepared to let our policemen fly to Bermuda and Cayman, the current government has not shown any inclination to make the police a special department of government. So where do we go from here?

  9. David it is assinine for a Government to mistreat an armed Police force.

    To disrespect the people you call on to put their life on the line is unacceptable.

    A clerk or draughtsman in the civil service does not have to do anything dangerous. They might get carpal tunnel syndrome from using a computer mouse or eyestrain from staring at a computer screen.

    Change the rules or pass legislation but fix the problem.

    • Agree with you Hants, there is the option to reallocate resources from the Barbados Defence Force/Coast Guard as well.

    • Royal Barbados Police Force


      The Royal Barbados Police Force is accepting applications for the

      post of Police Constable.

      As a member of the Force, you will be required to work flexible

      shifts, be mentally and physically fit, be a dedicated team member.

      What does it take to join our team?

      Applicants must:

      • Be between the ages of 19 to 30

      • Possess at least 3 CXC’s grades 1 – 3; or GCE equivalent

      • Be of good character and conduct, high integrity.

      Duties include but not limited to:

      • The investigation and the detection of crime;

      • Arresting offenders;

      • Maintaining Law and Order

      • Prosecution of offenders.

      Application Forms are available at Police Headquarters, Roebuck

      Street, or may be downloaded from
      Applicants may also apply in writing to: The Commissioner of

      Police, Police Headquarters, Bridgetown.

      The closing date for receipt of applications is: March 16, 2012.

      Enquiries: 430-7269

  10. The initial requirements are low, but you better have a lot of common sense and be very intelligent. Police work can get very complicated, and the range of investigations and case work preparation for files leaves no room for shirkers.

    That being said, I think the starting salary is somewhere around 2500. For a job where you don’t get to enjoy bank holidays, have to work shift including graveyard, are in the line of fire, and basically live a life based on the demands of the job, that’s way too low.

    But in the end, regrading only makes the Gazetted Officer pay higher, and gives pittance to the rank and file. The police should be on a separate scale.

    Like someone said, unless big ups are affected, everything is fine. Don’t worry about the average mope who gets beaten and robbed daily, they show statistics and say crime is down, or crime isn’t up, or crime isn’t out of control. They should ask those who got robbed or burgled how they feel about crime.

    What is stats to one person, is a whole ruined life to the affected individual.

    We should move to an elected COP by the public or something, if you don’t perform in a contract of three years, then you go 🙂

    But people who keep their jobs no matter what have no incentive to perform. If you ever watched the show The Wire on HBO, that is exactly how the force is run, stats rules all.

  11. David wrote “there is the option to reallocate resources from the Barbados Defence Force/Coast Guard as well.”

    That is a great way to fast track an increase in the numbers.

  12. A soldier is a far cry from the Police. Being a marksman with a weapon is 1% of a Police job. What law do soldiers know? They know how to take statements? Do they know the judges’ rules? Do they know the laws of evidence? Do they know the 5000 page police orders manual?

    Drafting soldiers into the police is square one. Still have to train them from scratch for Police work.

  13. Tasers are necessary for resistant suspects. They should be issued and their use monitored. The safety of the arresting officer must be considered. Reckless use of the Taser must be discouraged and prev ented by training and practice. Suspects should be afraid.

  14. Tell The commissioner I ready to join but watch, ….. I want at least $3,500 for my 50+ old ass .. Now I don’t want fa the degrees I got, but for the dedicated and impartial work i planning to do for my country. I could shoot straight too…and don’t take no nonsense…Long live Rap Brown #2, come back to cleanup the rebels.

  15. Observer wrote “Still have to train them from scratch for Police work.”

    At least they will already be used to a disciplined environment and could make good police officers.

  16. Hants | February 20, 2012 at 4:01 PM |
    Observer wrote “Still have to train them from scratch for Police work.”

    At least they will already be used to a disciplined environment and could make good police officers.
    Quite true. Very frequently in the UK ,ex members of HM Forces are accepted as recruits in the Metropolitan , other regional police forces and all over the Commonwealth. They have to start out from scratch, the only ones who may be exempted some elements of the course are ex Royal Military Policemen (RMP’s) . But many of us down here are still of the opinion that the only thing a solder is good at is shooting. A myth,kept alive by those who never had the will nor opportunity to serve. Trained soldiers learn fast and are very adaptable. This is what real discipline is all about. At the height of the Troubles in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland, when it was unpopular and dangerous for the local copper to be seen on the streets, the army had to take over a lot of the policing duties.

  17. Troubles in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland, when it was unpopular and dangerous for the local copper

    Was this not a sorta “inland war” ? Hence the aptness.

  18. To recruit new police officers is easy, lower the academic requirements who need 5 CXC’s or 3 whatever the number, a test in English set by the management of the force or whoever they choose should be enough. Once in the force you allow the new recruits starting at the training school to do the CXC’s required and allow them after they join the the force to continue studying on day release until they satisfy the Qualification order. Lets get with it Mr. commissioner

  19. redcarrake
    No boy..that would be total chaos.I bet you don’t live down here..
    Already, we appreciate those that exhibit sound educ and sense.
    Should you meet”otherwise” on some incident, boy its panda mania..
    Officers need to command respect and this can only be by being knowledgeable . Could you picture a most valuable drug take down .. and a square peck un-awaringly contaminating forensic evidence, or screwing up on proper arresting procedures.?…the cow giving 10 pints milk and kicking it over syndrome.
    The key is to raise not lower and PAY more importantly, as well….

  20. @ Surprised | February 21, 2012 at 9:34 PM |
    How come you and I can see that and the AG pretends he can’t?

    He keeps referring to the CoP as not doing enough marketing & PR to attract people to the force. Pure hogwash! How many well educated young men would join an organisation with such low starting salary scales and poor working conditions while operating in an extremely risky and challenging and dangerous environment, with illegal drugs and all?

    I am willing to state that if a drastic improvement in the pay and conditions of this very important branch of law enforcement is put in place many “clean” young men and women would step up to the plate to serve and protect their society.. Barbadians would not mind pay a small specific amount tacked on to their property tax towards this public service provided it definitely goes to improving the force. The question is: Is the political will present to enact such a bold and imaginative scheme? Is the political capacity there to cut that irrelevant string that ties the pay of the police to the general civil service? Or is it easier to bring people from abroad and incur the same or higher costs in the provision of accommodation, special family allowances, education for children if any’ migration and repatriation transportation cost and annul overseas holidays including family to their homeland.

    Extracts from the DLP 2007/2008 Manifesto – Pathways to Progress
    (23) LAW AND ORDER page 49

    As a matter of urgency, the new DLP Government
    _ Provide better remuneration for Police
    _ Improve and/or build new police stations
    in designated areas
    _ Increase the ranks in the police force creating
    more promotion opportunities
    _ Upgrade the Government Forensic Sciences
    Centre to help solve outstanding
    crimes and restore confidence in law enforcement
    _ Permit the police force to function free of
    political interference
    _ Convert Glendairy Prison into a publicly funded
    modern drug treatment and rehabilitation centre.

    Please, Political Adminstration, at least honour your first pledge from your manifesto. Despite the bogey recession we “better off” Barbadians (property owners) will be willing to pay a small increase in tax just to ensure that our hardworking police officers are better remunerated at least at the bottom and middle strata in order to maintain a reliable cadre of operational staff not easily taken in by small bribes in the course of their duties

  21. Despite the bogey recession we “better off” Barbadians (property owners) will be willing to pay a small increase in tax just to ensure that our hardworking police officers are better remunerated at least at the bottom and middle strata in order to maintain a reliable cadre of operational staff not easily taken in by small bribes in the course of their duties


  22. @Surprised | February 21, 2012 at 9:33 PM |

    @RUSERIOUS,ABOUT TASERS? You need to be shocked in your ass.
    Would you prefer to have the alternative? A 9mm bullet up YOURS!

  23. This has been the problem all along. MONEY!!!!!!!!. You cannot under pay persons and get the maximum out of them. I remember the days when young men used to flock to District A in great numbers with the intention of joining the force.

Leave a comment, join the discussion.