Cabinet has issued the green light on nearly $2 million in funding for the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) to recruit 20 new police officers.

Speaking in the Lower House on Friday, Minister of National Security Michael Weeks said “$499,000 will be allocated immediately in this fiscal year and a further $1.49 million will follow in the next fiscal year”.

“This additional funding complements an existing operational budget allocation approved by this Honourable House of $62,158,000, an increase from financial year 2021/22 and a capital allocation of $300,000 for vehicles and a further $1,037,000 for a new Island wide CCTV system,” he added.

“I can confirm that through this additional funding, the Police will provide an additional five Officers dedicated to the Parish Officer function. These locally recruited Officers will be embedded in and work with the community. Community officers provide a deterrent to further crime, improve public safety, and further enhance public confidence.

“The balance of fifteen Officers will enable the Service to increase the number of serious crime investigators as well as the number of authorized firearm officers.

“Currently, the Serious Crimes Unit has three sergeants and seven constables. This is grossly insufficient to meet the demand and means that active murder investigations quickly transition to ‘cold’ cases as new murders occur and need to be resourced. Further, attempted murder cases are de-prioritized to maintain resources in cases where a death has occurred,” said Mr Weeks.

“This recruitment will require the Bermuda Police Service to advertise both locally and overseas. Considering the immediate qualifications and experience required for some of the posts, overseas officers will be among those recruited. I have emphasized to the Commissioner, and I am confident in his full support of the Government’s position, that we must cultivate and train local officers concurrent with the engagement of any overseas talent.”

Highlights of the Minister’s full statement:

This additional funding complements an existing operational budget allocation approved by this Honourable House of sixty-two million one hundred and fifty eight thousand dollars ($62,158,000), an increase from financial year 2021/22 and a capital allocation of three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) for vehicles and a further 1,037,000 for a new Island wide CCTV system.

I can confirm that through this additional funding, the Police will provide an additional five (5) Officers dedicated to the Parish Officer function. These locally recruited Officers will be embedded in and work with the community. Community officers provide a deterrent to further crime, improve public safety, and further enhance public confidence.