#Freeport, GB, December 18, 2018 – Bahamas – The first full Fire Squad to pass out from the Royal Bahamas Police Force in over a decade graduated on Thursday, December 13, 2018, in a special ceremony at the Gerald Bartlett Police Headquarters in Freeport, Grand Bahama. D Squad, 2018 comprised of 34 graduates will be stationed within the Fire Branch of the Force.
This milestone, according to Minister of National Security, the Hon. Marvin Dames, marks a very special day, not only in the lives of the 34 young Bahamian men and women recruits, but also for the distinguished residents of the entire island of Grand Bahama.
“I remind you that you are entering a career that oftentimes becomes dangerous,” Minister Dames told the police graduates.
“Firefighters don’t just run into burning buildings, they are often first responders on the scene of explosions, natural disasters, wildfires, traffic accidents and other catastrophes. The demanding job can take both a physical and mental toll on those who perform it.”
The National Security Minister, who was the keynote speaker during the graduation ceremony, noted that as with all agencies under the purview of the Ministry of National Security, the Royal Bahamas Police Force has been called upon to embrace the adoption of sound management, that will allow for the effective execution of anti-crime and law enforcement strategies in the short, medium and long terms.
“Earlier this year, the Ministry of National Security completed a comprehensive Manpower Audit to determine the most effective establishment of the Royal Bahamas Police Force,” said Minister Dames.
“We needed to determine, as a matter of urgency, what was required in the way of human resources to effectively operate stations and divisions throughout the nation, including Grand Bahama.”
Key among the Audit’s findings, according to Minister Dames, was that the Force’s recruitment rate was not keeping pace with its attrition rate. The number of officers leaving the Force (whether by retirement, resignation, death or otherwise) was consistently higher than the number of officers being recruited.
Minister Dames noted that this imbalance resulted in a manpower gap of 1,020 police officers throughout the ranks, inclusive of 71 fire officers. He added that the Audit suggested that in order to operate at appropriate levels, the Police Force needed 791 Constables.
“The Audit further revealed that while approximately 500 or 18% of the Force is stationed here in Grand Bahama, the island still needed 261 officers in order to operate at suitable levels, inclusive of 25 fire officers.
“Using these findings as our impetus, the Government began to lay the fiscal framework to begin correcting the manpower shortages in the Force. This fiscal year, funding was approved for the first 134 Recruits, 100 of whom will be completing their training in New Providence next Thursday and the other 34 officers of this Fire Squad.
“This is just the first step, and I am happy to report that Cabinet has also approved funding for another 130 recruits, 30 of whom will be trained right here in Grand Bahama.”
Minister Dames added that based on the recommendations from the Manpower Audit, the Government’s ultimate goal has been to facilitate the re-branding of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, with a strategic focus on developing “a lean and purposeful agency” that is able to effectively police in a robust society driven by technological advancements.
“Therefore, my Ministry is committed to ushering the police force into the 21st Century law enforcement, so as to ensure the delivery of professional and uninterrupted policing services throughout our nation,” said Minister Dames.
“Commissioner Ferguson has assured me that the Force has engaged in the strategic deployment of officers in an effort to ensure sufficient manpower is available to provide policing services throughout all islands of The Bahamas. For this reason, a number of these new officers will be deployed to Grand Bahama.
“I admonish you to always do your job with integrity and in accordance with the law. The people of the Bahamas are depending on each of you to perform your duties with fairness, impartiality and professionalism.
“I want you to know that this Government supports your selfless service to our nation and no effort will be spared to provide you with the necessary tools to be successful.”
By Andrew Coakley
Header: Minister of National Security, Hon. Marvin Dames, inspected members of D Squad 2018, during graduation ceremonies on Thursday, at the Gerald Bartlett Police Complex.
First insert: Minister of National Security, the Hon. Marvin Dames, was the keynote speaker during graduation ceremonies for D Squad 2018, at the Gerald Bartlett Police Complex, on Thursday, December 13, 2018.
Second insert: National Security Minister, Hon. Marvin Dames (center), along with Commissioner of Police, Anthony Ferguson; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Samuel Butler and other top brass of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, joined D Squad (2018) for an official photograph following graduation ceremonies on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Thirty-four officers graduated.
BIS Photos/Andrew Miller