Bringing in police officers from UK ‘not sustainable’

A SIGNIFICANT shortage of police officers locally has meant that Bailiwick Law Enforcement has had to second staff from the UK, a situation described as ‘not sustainable’ by the deputy in charge of Home Affairs.

Home Affairs president Deputy Rob Prow addressed the issue of a shortage of police officers yesterday. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30431175)
Home Affairs president Deputy Rob Prow addressed the issue of a shortage of police officers yesterday. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30431175)

Deputy Rob Prow told the States that 10 police officers were brought in on secondment at the end of last year and they are due to return to their own constabularies at the end of March.

In his update statement, Deputy Prow said his committee was anticipating an underspend in excess of £1m. for 2021, and the main reason was under-staffing and the interruption to training.

‘While savings are welcome, as a committee we cannot be entirely pleased with this situation as the contributing factors give cause for more general concern, rather the committee hopes that the position will not be in the same at the end of this year.

‘The prime cause is a significant number of vacant posts and a disruption to training, due to the pandemic.

‘While services are to be commended for not allowing this position to significantly impact on front line service delivery, we must be clear the position is not sustainable.

‘The committee recognises the challenges that, as a government, we are facing. Money is short, resources limited, and we live in a community which rightly has high expectations. We must work together if we are to deliver.’

New recruits to the force are believed to be undergoing training right now, and Deputy Adrian Gabriel asked if they would have the depth of experience required to replace the seconded officers.

Deputy Prow said recruitment issues were being addressed. The police force can bring in officers on ‘mutual aid’ and that can be a rolling arrangement across a number of constabularies.

‘Yes, there are recruitment pressures. Is the committee confident they are being managed? Yes, they are being assessed on a daily basis, and the chief officer of police, working with human resources under P&R, are working to ensure that we do have a police force that is fit for purpose.

‘Recruitment pressures are of concern, but I can reassure the deputy and the Assembly that there are sufficient police officers to discharge a safe and secure Bailiwick.’

Deputy Sam Haskins highlighted that since 2015 speeding offences have gone down every year.

He queried whether that was safer driving or a problem with enforcement.

Deputy Prow said it was a difficult question to answer.

‘All I would say that we were talking about police resourcing, yes there are pressures and priorities on the police and that is a fact. The police do a very good job and are very cognisant of road safety issues and do their level best.’

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