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March 09
11:50 2019
March 9th. 2019 - -  

Saturday, March 9, 2019 Commissioner of Police Chester Williams has responded to complaints being voiced by members of the Belize Police Department regarding the shifts being worked in Belize City and transportation for officers after shifts. Several members of the BPD reached out to the Reporter recently to state that despite a commitment by newly installed Commissioner of Police Chester Williams to provide transportation home for officers after shifts, it has not been done.

They claim that it is an undue hardship for officers to work long hours and then have to find their way home to others districts.

The Commissioner told the Reporter that indeed, a transportation system has not yet been put in place, but maintains that there are many more pressing issues which need attention in the BPD. “Officers from other districts who work in Belize City are paid a housing allowance which has been increased to $300 a month.

If they choose to still go home to other districts after their shift is over, that is their decision to make, but it should not become the responsibility of the Department or place another financial burden on the Department,” stated Williams. Additionally, there have been complaints that officers are still being forced to work seven days with two days off, despite agreeing in a recent meeting to work five days on and two off.

Since taking office ComPol Williams has done away with 12 hour shifts and reinstated 8 hour shifts. Williams explained to the Reporter that the officers who are complaining have it all wrong. “In every seven day week, from Sunday to Saturday, officers will get two days off,” ComPol Williams told us. Sometimes if one week officers get days off early in the rotation, and the next week late in the rotation, it may appear that they are working more than five days, but they are not, Williams told this newspaper.

Williams also took the opportunity to defend the change from the 12 hour shifts, claiming that it was not only stressful for officers but dangerous. He told us that top brass consistently received reports of officers parked behind homes, sleeping in their vehicles. “Imagine officers sleeping in their vehicles, attacked, maybe killed,” stated Williams.

Williams says that while he understands why officers working 12 hour shifts would be tired, it is a disservice to the public, since under that system it was rare to see officers patrolling the streets after 11:00pm. The Reporter, in conducting independent queries, has been told that officers working in Belize City enjoy privileges not enjoyed by officers in other districts, including a patrol allowance and a shift which is an hour shorter than shifts in the districts.

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