Seeking a few good men and women: BPS recruitment drive nearing completion

The Bermuda Police Service (BPS) recently completed the application phase of a recruitment drive designed to raise the number of police to a level deemed effective in helping to ensure safety and security for Bermuda residents, as well as provide for effective ability to enforce local laws.

Commissioner of police Darren Simons told TNN’s Trevor Lindsay that 180 applications had been received within the set timeline, with 36 persons remaining in a pool for employment as a result of various processes.

“Right now what remain are forms of ongoing testing that will include medical testing and psychological testing, so we’ll have to see what kind of numbers we have at the end of that,” explained the police chief. “What’s interesting is that out of the 180 applications that we got there were a substantial amount of what I call no shows for the various testing that we have and the other piece is that out of that 180 applications probably nearly 100 were from overseas, so they were not eligible to participate in the process.”

Simons revealed that the BPS is currently operating at a substantial ten percent deficit relative to what he considers an optimum number of members, with the service some 40 members short of the desired figure.

“In terms of funded establishment that number is 420 and today we are at 380, which might be off by one or two, so you know we’ve got a long ways to go.
“And don’t forget that at the same time that we might open up a recruitment drive we’re yet going through losses via natural attrition, with people leaving the organization.

“So it’s just about trying to make up the numbers to get to that 420, which I would be very comfortable with.”
It was suggested to the commissioner that Bermuda might be losing its allure to recruits in the Caribbean, with New Zealand becoming a more desired destination of choice for our southern neighbours, however Simons debunked this theory.

“Not from the Caribbean,” said Simons. “So whilst I do appreciate that there is far more competition, I mean just across the globe there just seems to be shortages of police officers the world over.
“In terms of developed countries you’ve got Canada recruiting, you’ve got the US trying to enhance theirofferings and, like you talked about, Australia and New Zealand are advertising as well as other Caribbean countries that are recruiting.

“Generally we don’t have problems getting officers from the Caribbean.
“The sheer number of applications may have fallen compared to previous years, but our ability to attract the amount of officers that we need is still there so we might have gotten something like 6,000 applications before and now we’re in the hundreds.”

With a stagnant local economy outside of the international business sector young Bermudians are queuing up to find employment in the public sector, including the BPS, yet many have found the set requirements somewhat challenging.

“If you’re talking about a local candidate, then you know they definitely have to have your basic life skills in terms of educational requirements such as the basics of reading, writing, maths skills,” said the commissioner. “The testing is not complicated. It’s not hard, so there is a bit of concern when a high school graduate is unsuccessful at at our exam.
“If you think you may be a marginal candidate I would recommend you going up to the Bermuda College for remedial training around English, Mathematics and that kind of stuff and obviously the physical fitness.

“I believe pretty much anybody can pass the physical fitness requirements, going from very unfit to a modicum of fitness in maybe three to four months, because the standard isn’t very high.
“There’s always been some challenges you know there’s always been a group of individuals that are going to be unsuccessful in the physical fitness component and in the reading, writing, the academic testing.

“If you’d like me to identify new trends one is that we’re now seeing our candidates who are either marginal or being screened out because of some mental health challenges. And what I mean by that is their backgrounds might have some significant trauma that the testing indicates they’re not processing in a healthy way, so that’s definitely going on and the amount of numbers we’re sort of seeing there is is on the rise.

“The other thing that is far more noticeable now is that when applicants go through the medical screening they are being screened out for lifestyle diseases, like hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, to the degree that the doctors are expressing concern about the candidates’ long-term suitability.”

Somewhat surprisingly Simons indicated how very few are being excluded for failing to pass mandatory drug testing.
“Yes, drug testing is mandatory and fortunately we are not seeing candidates who are being screened out because of drug use,” he said. “It would be a very rare thing for a candidate to be screened out because of drug use at this point in time.

“However, lets acknowledge particularly with the changing perceptions around, particularly marijuana legislation, which I think is going to be an issue that the country as a whole is going to have to deal with, you know how employers respond to employees that are consuming cannabis.”

The next recruitment drive is set to commence in November, with another slated for early 2024 and the BPS seeks to fortify its ranks.


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