Nearly 40 percent of police officers deployed to enforce emergency orders amid pandemic
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) has spent $514,000 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to Police Commissioner Paul Rolle.
The price tag includes sanitation efforts, acquiring personal protective equipment, deep cleaning of police stations, and providing food and tents for officers at checkpoints during lockdowns.
During a report to the nation presented by national security officials, Rolle provided a breakdown of expenditure.
The police force spent just over $247,000 on food and beverage, its largest expense; $40,295 on tent rentals; $85,197 of hygienic supplies; $21,172 on machineries; $75,530 on building sanitization; $10,051 on gloves and $34,450 on facial masks.
Amid the height of the pandemic, the force established a 24-hour COVID-19 Command Centre at Police Headquarters and deployed 1,450 officers, including 250 officers on Grand Bahama to enforce the emergency orders.
This figure represents 39 percent of the police force’s staff complement.
According to the commissioner, there were 865 breaches of the orders and 45 breaches to the Liquor License Act.
While commercial activities with certain restrictions have been allowed to resume on a number of islands, bars, discos, entertainment facilities, and other activities, remain prohibited on Abaco and New Providence, according to the emergency orders.
The commissioner also said 1,770 people were arrested for curfew violations.
In early August, the RBPF launched the COVID-19 Monitoring Centre at the Cable Beach Police Station, taking over the electronic monitoring of cases and quarantined individuals using the geofencing application, Hubbcat.
Rolle advised that to date, the unit has made eight arrests, issued 80 warnings, conducted 850 public and business visits, and handed out 180 citations.
Despite its efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus within the RBPF, 165 employees, including officers and civilian staff have tested positive for the virus since mid-March, according to Rolle, who said another 479 employees were quarantined.
The commissioner advised that plexiglass windows and automatic temperature monitors will be outfitted in all police stations for the safety of staff and visitors.
He also advised sanitizing stations have been strategically placed throughout the organization.
“As a proactive measure, the Royal Bahamas Police Force implemented a 10-step guideline to COVID-19 to educate, inform and prepare all members of the force for the impending eventualities,” Rolle said.
“The force promoted social distancing protocols and all employees were encouraged to regularly wash their hands and to sanitize vehicles and stations after every shift.
“All stations were sanitized and a robust internal quarantine contingency to mitigate further exposure and spread of the virus was implemented.
“The use of technology was expanded to hold meetings, trainings, and briefing.
“Significant changes were made to the civilian staff work schedules to include flexi-time and working remotely from home.”