One of the biggest challenges to the operations of the police force last year was the inability to recruit any new officers. This was the word from Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney, during Friday’s end-of year police media briefing.
Rodney explained that plans had been underway to select new officers, as previously determined, until they were advised by the government that public sector hiring was being temporarily suspended.
While it could be understood that the Covid-19 pandemic forced that decision, it had a negative impact on the force, with personnel stretched to meet the various challenges of the pandemic.
“It was based on the decision of the government to freeze employment. So as much as we had a commitment in 2018/2019 to recruit 50 new officers, just when we were in the process, we had started the process already, doing interviews, taking applications, then the directive came, there should be no employment. So as a result we could not continue the process of recruiting new officers.
“With Covid, obviously, we were called to do much more than our normal responsibilities and that was one of the challenges we had in 2020 with the limited resources and still so much more to do,” Rodney stated.
Rodney added that, while there may not be any financial room to allow for recruitment in the immediate future, he is hopeful that the strain can be eased sooner rather than later, with the addition of more personnel.
He revealed that he has discussed the strain on the force with policy makers and hopes relief comes sooner rather than later.