Faced with limited resources and numerous duties, Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis says it’s time to reconsider what services genuinely require police presence.
During a press conference on Thursday (July 14) he said, “The basic question to ask is does it require police power? If it doesn’t then it’s something that can be considered for out sourcing and given to someone else.”
Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton says, the police serve some 9,000 summons and warrants each year, and while they would like to see that service outsourced, they’re handcuffed to the duty because of an antiquated law.
He said, “There is no reason why that has to remain in place. That was okay in 1975 when maybe you had 20 witnesses for the year, maybe I don’t know I was very young at that time. But in today’s world that’s obviously changed because we are now seeing 9,000 a year.”
Mr Ennis says it’s not the first time that the police services underwent an internal review, and decided to part ways with some of its services.
“The licensing department was once under the police. It was a Superintendent that was in charge of the vehicle licensing department. We did an internal review when there was an impetus to redeveloping government. We did an internal review and decided that was not something for the police to do,” said the Acting Commissioner.
Regulating security companies could also be reconfigured. While RCIPS oversight holds these private companies to a high standard, Mr. Walton wonders if another entity could do that as well, and free up police resources.
“We have over 600 security guards, that are on islands, we need to provide services to because the police at the moment regulate that. So we have officers looking into that” said Mr. Walton.
For now these suggestions are just that Suggestions, and Mr Ennis says if the changes ever become formal proposals, he understands they won’t be supported by all.
Mr. Ennis said, “Yes there might be some resistance to change in certain areas. We have to continually improve and we have to do the best job we can.”
But for now Mr Ennis and Mr Walton both agree there is a clear need for a change in the roles that police officers must play.