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Crime continues and the police department remains understaffed due to COVID-19

There is no pause on crime and there are currently dozens of police officers off duty due to Covid-19.  Police Commissioner Chester Williams spoke on the challenges the department faces at present.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: I am sure that we are not the only department that is experiencing that at this time and so we have to find ways and means as to how we can go around and so we have a number of officers who are being asked to work extra and they’re compensated with time off in lieu of working extra. We do have our routine policing things that we need to do and we have the COVID-19 regulations and these are things that we must ensure we enforce. We still have the gang situation in Belize City , again the precincts are extremely short of manpower and we have not been able to cover our usual deployments but despite that we still can pretty much say we have a grip on crime and it all goes back to the efforts of the police officers. As I’ve said before as police officers we’re a special breed of people even though for the most part we’re not given the level of recognition that we rightly deserve we are not doing our job for popularity we’re doing it because it is something we love and yes while some of us may step out of line at times and do things that we’re not proud of for the most part our police officers are out there everyday working every minute of their tour of duty to ensure they keep the people of this country as safe as they can.”

Commissioner Williams noted that unlike the practice of several employers the Police Department has strict Covid-19 policies with an aim to prevent a spread.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I can assure you that we do not have people at work who are COVID positive, neither do we have people at work who have undergone the swabbing and are awaiting results. It is our policy that once you’re positive you stay in isolation. If you’re awaiting results you should remain in quarantine and even though the Ministry of Health have said and have issued letter to persons who have been positive for I think up to fourteen days and have issued letters saying to them that they can come back to work we are saying no we want to be sure. And so when our officers receive those letters that they are to come back to work even though they still test positive we are saying to them no you remain at home until you result comes back negative and it is because we understand that as police officers we come into contact with a number of persons and we do not want to have a situation where officers who we believe would no longer be able to contaminate others come to work and in fact contaminate others. So in terms of the courts those police officers who had tested positive from the prosecution branch we have received the results for many of them they are now negative and so they’re back at work. There were some who were swabbed and were negative when the result came back and so those two are at work, there are still a few of them who are still out and we are awaiting their test result to determine if they have been cleared of the virus.”