Belize Police Department
Law enforcement in Belize is conducted by the Belize Police Department headed by a Commissioner and headquartered in Belize City.
When we reached the mainland again, we found the police force even heavier than it had been when we’d left. Belize Police Department cars and trucks were parked on the wide walkway along the water’s edge, and rifle-bearing officers patrolled the streets. The dock was abuzz with radio chatter, the panicked noises of the evacuated crowds, and the rev of boat engines. As much as the Belize police force was trying to handle the situation, the influx of five and a half thousand evacuated passengers was a barely controlled mess on land.
The Belize Police Department is descended from the British Honduras Constabulary (BHC), which was established in 1886.
As of the early 1990s, the police force had an authorized strength of approximately 500, a ratio of about three police to every 1,000 inhabitants. By 2008, the Belize Police Department maintained 1,073 sworn officers and 141 civilian employees.
Police operations were divided into three territorial divisions: Eastern, which included Belmopan and Belize City; Central; and Western. The force had a small maritime element that operated six shallow-draft motorboats capable of patrolling coastal waters frequented by smugglers.
The force was also divided into three operational branches: General Duties, Crime Investigation, and Tactical Service. The Tactical Service, formed in 1978, assumed the nonmilitary responsibilities of its predecessor, the Police Special Force, which was incorporated into the Belize Defence Force (BDF).
The police underwent training at the Police Training School in Belmopan. In sixteen-week programs, recruits studied general police duties and procedures, criminal law, evidence, traffic management, and firearms. Senior police officers attended a ten-week command course run by the British police in Britain. There were a small number of women police in the force, and the first woman was promoted to the rank of inspector in 1989. All personnel were subject to transfer anywhere in the country.
Police performed their regular duties unarmed, although arms were issued for special duties or in cases of extreme necessity.
Officers' uniforms resembled those of British police forces. Sergeants and lower ranks wore khaki shirts, blue serge trousers with a green seam on both sides, and dark blue peaked caps. Some police investigators were not required to wear uniforms.
The Belize Police Department ranks are listed in descending order:
Commissioner of Police