The Belize Police Department's jurisdiction encompasses the entire country of Belize, covering 8,867 square miles (22,960 km²) of territory. and serving 297,651 people (Belize CSO, 2007 mid year estimate). There are currently over 1055 officers in the department. These police officers are assisted by dedicated Special Constables, civilian staff members and Community Support through the Citizens on Patrol (COP) and Neighbourhood Watch programs.
Belize Police Department's Philosophy
"We shall devote ourselves to uphold the safeguards of the Constitution having regard for the rights and dignity of all persons, through the instrument of Law, and the concern for order, working in partnership with the people, and in cooperation with Law Enforcement Agencies, we vow to protect the welfare of the state from the threat and fear of crime."
Brief History of policing in Belize
The colonial regime introduced the notion of organized policing into British Honduras in 1886. The British Honduras Constabulary Force was formed under Captain D. M. Allen who had originally served with the First West Indian Regiment. There were just about 141 constables, all of them brought over from Barbados, because it was said that the local men showed no interest in enlisting. In 1902, the Constabulary Force was abolished and the police adopted the title British Honduras Police Force. This was commanded by a succession of expatriate officers.
The police training school established in the year 1963, instructs recruits, over a six month period, in police duties and procedures, criminal law and practice, forensic jurisprudence, first aid, self defence, weapons training, customer service, public relations and conflict resolution. It was also in 1963 that women were first recruited into the force as constables.
The official name of the force was changed to the Belize National Police in 1973, and by the early 1990s, the commissioner and all senior police officers were Belizeans.
As of January 2008, the department employs approximately 1,200 sworn law enforcement officers and 700 civilian employees, all of whom continually provide quality service to Belize's residents and visitors.
Organization and Administration
The Minister of National Security, Hon. Carlos Perdomo, is responsible to Parliament for the Police Department and its activities. The Chief Executive Officer, Gen. Lloyd Gillet, Ministry of National Security and the Security Services Commission share administrative control. Operational command of the Department is vested in the Commissioner of Police.
The administration is divided into the Office of the Commissioner of Police, Management Services and Operations. Police operations are divided into three territorial divisions: Eastern, which includes the Belmopan and Belize City; Central; and Western division.
The Police Department has an authorized strength of 1,200, a ratio of about 1.5 police to every 300 inhabitants. This is just about average policing strength for a small country like Belize.
The Police Officer's Code of Ethics
As a Police Officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind, to safeguard lives and property, to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence of disorder, and to respect the constitution rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice.
I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all; maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn or ridicule; develop self-restraint, and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others.
Honest in the thought and deed, in both my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the laws of my land, and regulations of my department.
Whatever I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided in me in my official capacity will be kept ever secret, unless revelation is necessary in the performance of my duty.
I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices animosities or friendship to influence my decisions.
With no compromise for crime, and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favour, malice or ill-will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.
I will recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of Police Service.
I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself before God to my chosen profession…la enforcement.