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Mar 13, 2019

12 Hour Shifts, a Disaster Waiting to Happen

Chester Williams

Another promise was that officers would work a reduced forty-five-hour week if the new schedule was accepted. News Five has been informed that a survey on the shift is being conducted by the Belize Police Association, which has written two letters to the ComPol, but has not received any response.  The leaked documents show that one was written and forwarded to the ComPol on January twenty-eighth and then again on February twenty-sixth and speaks to concerns on the welfare and efficiency of police officers who are subjected to the eight-hour shifts. The subsequent letter accuses ComPol Williams of deceiving the officers and deliberately failing to display the details of the eight-hour shift in black and white.   Earlier today, before we received these documents, Williams maintained that the shift was necessary for the safety of residents.

 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“The eight-hour shift system is far better than twelve hours. You know there were many officers who found sleeping in these gang-ridden areas with firearms on them. It is a disaster waiting to happen. It is about time that we do something to be able to address it. Recently there was a workshop at the San Ignacio Hotel with an expert who came in. And he said that one of the major things affecting police officers in Belize is the long working hours that is creating stress and that is causing officers to become ill. That is the truth. How long must we continue to see our officers putting their lives at risk, sleeping in these gang-ridden areas, not being able to do any kind of workout, being sick? And when you have an officer who comes off work at seven a.m.; he lives in Corozal. He doesn’t get home until around ten, eleven. By one, two [p.m.], he has to be up again to catch the bus to come. What rest is he getting? He is not getting any. Compare that to when you come off at seven; you don’t have to come back to work again until eleven in the night. You get home around ten, ten-thirty, you can sleep right through and you leave Corozal around eight o’clock to be here for eleven. It is more conducive to the body. It is more conducive to work. The question is: when you work twelve hours, is the public getting value for money? And the answer is no.”

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