By: Matt Maura
NASSAU, Bahamas – The Royal Bahamas Police Force is taking “decisive action with notable successes” in countering crime and criminality within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, with a meaningful part of that success attributable to the excellent job its civilian staff is performing in a supporting role, Minister of National Security, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest said Friday.
Addressing the first Civilian Staff Day Away, Mr. Turnquest said that despite the current crime trends impacting the nation, there is no doubt that the Force has taken up the challenge the existing and emerging manifestations of crime and criminality are presenting for the country.
Mr. Turnquest said it is a viewpoint generally held not just here in The Bahamas, but in countries around the world, that civilian employees are increasingly becoming an important element in law enforcement.
“It is an important source of encouragement for me, as it should be to us all, that the Royal Bahamas Police Force is taking decisive action, with notable successes, in countering crime and criminality in our country,” Mr. Turnquest said.
“When you, the civilian staff, undertake professional and other functions for which trained Police Officers need not be engaged, you make it possible for those officers to return to the essential duties of law enforcement,” Mr. Turnquest added.
Mr. Turnquest said it has been 30 years since civilian employees have helped to “underpin” the law enforcement work of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. He said that during this period, a transformation has taken place in the services the civilian employees render to the Force.
From the mid-1990s, Government, as a matter of policy, has sought to strategically place civilian employees in certain positions that would allow Police Officers to perform tasks for which they have been trained, he added.
“We have moved from the early days when civilian staff work was limited to clerical and custodial duties,” Mr. Turnquest said. “Today, the 250 civilian employees of the Force are engaged in many duties ranging from accounting, where they are responsible for managing revenue and expenditure, to registry personnel who manage the intake, circulation and filing of the Force’s correspondence.
“Additionally, Human Resource Managers organize and administer personnel matters relating to the Force’s 3,000 officers while other civilian employees assist the Force in areas including crime data input.”
The Minister of National Security said the myriad of contributions do not stop there, as civilian employees are making “essential contributions” in critical areas such the Central Detective Unit (CDU), Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU), Criminal Records Office (CRO) and in the many Stations which serve the various Bahamian communities.
Civilian employees, Minister Turnquest said, are also now making “important contributions” in other specialized areas of the Force such as the Forensic Science Unit which has been identified for further expansion of civilian employees.
“An important factor contributing to the work of the Police Force and extending its reach and strength throughout The Bahamas is the presence of the Force in Grand Bahama and in our various Family Islands,” Mr. Turnquest said.
“Civilian employees are contributing to that success in islands such as Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros, Cat Island, Eleuthera and Long Island,” Mr. Turnquest added.
Minister Turnquest told the employees that they, like Police Officers, must be in the business of making the Royal Bahamas Police Force the best it can be, adding that to do so requires continued excellence in the execution of their duties. He said it further requires camaraderie and cohesion, productivity and the further development of their skills and other attributes for service to the Force.
“We know that for the most part, civilian employees of the Police Force are Public Officers and as such, are not part of the Police Force, but are part of the Public Service (but) as you know, the Government and people of The Bahamas are the main beneficiaries of unity and excellence in service in the Royal Bahamas Police Force and as such, I commend you, on their behalf, for the work you have done to date and encourage you to continue to do your best always,” Mr. Turnquest added.