NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe yesterday threw his support behind potential changes to police gun policy that would allow officers to carry service weapons while off-duty.
Among crime-fighting efforts, Munroe underscored the need to also protect the police as the country recorded an increase in all major crimes in 2022.
“Now, every policeman we would like to have a gun. And we’ve come this far in 50 years as a country. So, we have to be very serious about addressing the problems that get us to this point as we are on this road to safety.
“And we have to decide, as Lynden said, ‘what we’re going to do to build this country’ and the least that we can do is pay attention to our young people,” the minister said.
The minister furthered that an officer without a gun does not offer a sense of safety for anyone in a dangerous matter.
However, the former Commissioner of Police Paul Farquharson told Eyewitness News that “every police officer should not be allowed to carry guns.”
Farquharson indicated that the process of undergoing psychological testing should be required before the Commissioner deems law officers fit to carry guns.
Ahead of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Munroe pointed to a recent case where an officer who was not armed had to protect his own family while his wife was held at gunpoint by an armed man who was attempting to rob her of her vehicle.
“Could you imagine what would have happened, how someone like me would feel if an officer who we entrust to be armed, to confront the most dangerous elements in this country, goes home, doesn’t have the ability to protect himself and his family simply because he’s off duty,” he said.
Munroe continued: “Since the officers in carrying out their jobs may come across dangerous people who will have no regard for them being on duty or off duty. So that was a wake-up call to me.”
He reported that although the officer was able to disarm the robber, he had a “fundamental” issue with the incident.
While he indicated the decision was up to the Commissioner, Munroe said that he had no issue with the revision.
“When people decide to be menaces to society, society cannot let that happen,” he said.