PSA defends reserves

PSA defends reserves
Chairman of the Police Staff Association, Sonny Miller.

Miller: Numerous changes already made in the program

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Police Staff Association (PSA) Chairman Sergeant Sonny Miller yesterday defended the work of police reservists following an audit into the Reserves Branch of the Royal Bahamas Police Force that highlighted gross mismanagement of the program.

“I’m almost certain that 99 percent of the reservists are not there for salary purposes,” Miller said, despite the audit noting that reserves only wished to work in “areas where they can maximize their earnings”.

Miller admitted that while there may have been slight abuses of the system, overall police reserves contribute significantly to police force.

The audit tabled in Parliament Wednesday by National Security Marvin Dames also outlined that some reserves filed for more hours than the law allowed and were paid.

Recommendations were made for the division to ensure proper accounting and adequate checks and balances.

According to Miller, some changes have already been made.

“We have an accounts section that is second to none,” he said.

“Before that audit was completed there was some transitions taking place. We do not know of everything that happened, but we do know that it is being done.”

The audit also pointed to several posts within the reserves division, including the rank of senior assistant commissioner, a position not facilitated by the Police Act.

The highest rank in the reserves branch was assistant superintendents, however 65 reserves held higher senior ranks, according to the audit.

The senior assistant commissioner post was held by now retired officer Stephen Seymour.

The position was approved by Cabinet, however.

Miller reserved comment on the appointment.

“Mr. Seymour from what we know is a true police [officer] by heart,” he said.

“We won’t question his appointment. He gave 40-plus years and for us to figure out how he was appointed or if it was legal or not is not our cup of tea.”

It was also underscored in the audit that there was a lack of civilians recruited to the program, and largely retired officers were re-enlist.

Miller said that this was also alarming for the PSA.

However, he said following inquires, it was learned that this practice was more seamless.

“The main thing was that it was less expensive for training and we didn’t have to train retired officers and they also came with a wealth of knowledge,” Miller claimed.

Despite the audit, Miller said the reserves should be celebrated and not condemned for their work.

The audit recognized the contributions of reserve officers to the wider organization and the reduction of crime in The Bahamas.

He said, “I am of the view that the reserves join the division after retirement from the force to continue giving back to his country.”