A Barbadian former top police officer has returned to the island in support of his 26-year-old son after the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) threw him off recruit training about two weeks before graduation because he was ruled to be overweight, the Royal Gazette newspaper said on Wednesday.
Michael Jackman, who ended his career as the BPS’s Deputy Commissioner after 32 years on the force, is here to back up his son Jeral’s battle to be reinstated in time for the class passing-out parade on Friday.
Jackman, who retired in 2014, said his Bermudian son, who had almost completed the tough six-month recruit foundation course, was “body-shamed” when he was told he did not meet a body mass index standard.
“He is a big guy — like most Bermudians are. Even if they could legally implement a body mass index (BMI) policy, it would have to be applicable to Bermudians, but they don’t have the authority to do that.
“There is no provision for a commissioner to impose a BMI standard on one police officer. That’s why I am so annoyed.”
Jackman, who was awarded the Overseas Territories’ Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 2012, added that he would “fight this unjust, illegal and unlawful behaviour to the full extent of the law”.
He explained that the police conditions of service only stipulated that an officer had to be “fit for duty”.
Jackman said that his son had “met and exceeded” the academic standards of the course and skill assessments and had scored 88 out of 91 in the final knowledge exams, as well as passed a police driving test.
He added: “He has also exceeded all of the standards for the job-related fitness test.”
Jackman said he had spoken to Darrin Simons, the Acting Deputy Commissioner, and “pointed out that what he was doing was wrong”.
“They can’t introduce a policy or something that only affects a few people. There is a conditions of service order.”
Simons said: “The Bermuda Police Service acknowledges that this is a difficult set of circumstances.
“Notwithstanding, the Bermuda Police Service can confirm that Mr Jackman has been removed from the course, as he has not met a pre-employment contractual condition.
“The matter is ongoing and, in keeping with the principles of natural justice, Mr Jackman has been given a period of time to submit additional information to the commissioner’s office for consideration. As such, it is inappropriate for the BPS to make further comment.”