I acknowledge and appreciate the views of Social Justice Bermuda, as expressed in their Monday, 8th November 2021 public statement. This is an unacceptable situation in which a police officer admitted to engaging in activity that caused significant concern to a family and the community.
We all agree that this should not have happened and there should be a consequence. However, there is a prescribed process that must be followed and all the facts must be considered so that the appropriate determination is made.
I seek the public’s patience to allow due process to occur, as we work to resolve this matter.
In order to solve crimes and generally help make Bermuda safer, the longstanding partnership between the police and the community is vital. Therefore, I welcome comments from organisations such as Social Justice Bermuda. All community views have value, particularly those that express dissatisfaction. They give us pause and provide an opportunity for reflection and growth.
Unfortunately, the 8th November public statement by Social Justice Bermuda also contained some inaccurate remarks. I wish to state that it was established that a police officer did not share the untimely passing of a prominent member of our community before the next of kin were made aware. In fact, it was confirmed that this error in judgement was made by someone who was in no way linked to the Bermuda Police Service.
Also, an investigation into publicising personal information and documents related to that public figure, confirmed that it only occurred after the Bermuda Police Service had returned those documents.
The independent Police Complaints Authority reviewed the findings of that investigation.
Separately, a report on the events of 2nd December 2016 was prepared by an independent authority and made public shortly after. That report has led to changes in how we deal with public order incidents.
In addition, the recent handling of a matter involving an officer’s social media post was dealt with before the courts and reported on by the local news media. That officer is no longer a member of the Bermuda Police Service.
I have previously shared that delays in providing crime statistics result from staffing reallocations that prioritise police response to crime over the statistics. Notwithstanding this, I wholeheartedly acknowledged the criticism regarding the tardiness in producing these figures at a recent press conference, where delayed crime statistics from 2018 and 2019 were released. I stress, however, ensuring public safety will always remain the top priority of the Bermuda Police Service.
To be clear, we remain focused on this most recent situation. I again apologise to the families and those impacted by what transpired.
Even when we don’t get it right, I remain confident that the women and men of the Bermuda Police Service know all too well the value of the community’s trust and support and are saddened when we fall short of those expectations.
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