Commissioner Simons Confidence in New Promotions Process

Commissioner of Police expresses confidence in new promotions process and warns of consequences for those who breach the strict guidelines involved.

Transparency and fairness are foundational to the Bermuda Police Service, and as we move forward, it’s vital that our promotions process reflects these values.

Since its introduction in 2020, this promotion process has been run three times, for three ranks, dealing with almost 100 officer candidates that resulted in 42 well-deserved promotions. Those promoted have not only passed their probationary period but are thriving in their new roles.

Simply put, gone are the days of promotions being decided by a small interview panel alone. Especially, given there is an opportunity to consider a candidate’s performance, or lack there of, over a long period of time. Past performance will always be the best indicator of future performance and this new process emphasises that.

A selection panel of between 15-25 persons, who reflect the diversity of our service and our community, and who witnessed the candidates performance for a long time, rank the candidates from most to least ready for promotion.

A large diverse panel brings together a breadth of experiences and viewpoints that will lead to more informed and fair decisions. It also creates a stronger sense of ownership for the decisions that are made. We’re looking for sustained excellence and a track record that speaks to an individual’s dedication and positive impact over time.

We’ve indeed looked at other processes for best practices, and our approach draws inspiration from those. However, we’ve put ‘Bermuda Shorts’ on these insights to fit our unique context and we’re confident that our model is well-suited for our service.

The process was designed to be merit-based and equitable, ensuring that the most capable officers with a recognized history of good performance are selected when compared to each other. Only the aggregate results are shared not the individual panel member’s rankings. This is similar to most panel-based promotion processes.

Providing only the aggregated results is a step to protect the integrity of the selection process and to minimize undue influence. Panel members are free to make their determinations without pressure, ensuring that their choices are based on professional judgment rather than external factors.

To strengthen the integrity of the process every panel member is required to sign a non-conflict and anti-collusion declaration. The consequence to officers for breaching this trust is unequivocal—dismissal from the service. It’s a zero-tolerance stance that underscores the seriousness of the task being performed and our Professional Standards. Our community and our officers deserve no less.

While most change has its detractors and people who are just unhappy, the level of internal consultation on the changes we made is truly unprecedented. We’ve embraced an iterative approach, actively seeking out and incorporating feedback after each phase of each process to fine-tune it. It’s this openness to consultation and consistent improvement that ensures our process remains effective, relevant, and fair.

This year we have to make promotions from Superintendent to Sergeant. Each process runs consecutively and if all goes to plan, the results should all be known by the end of May.

I want to emphasize that this process is more than a procedure; it’s a promise. A promise to our officers that excellence and dedication will be recognized and rewarded. A promise to our community that the leaders within their police service are truly the finest among us. And a promise from myself, as your Commissioner, to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in the service I am proud to lead.

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