Policing in Bermuda

Is very confusing.  What is the problem?  Is it lack of control?  Is it lack of resources?  Is it politicking? 

Sen. Burch has made numerous calls for the Governor to do more to address Bermuda’s policing difficulties or hand over control, suggesting that he cannot do his job effectively because the Governor “is solely responsible for the Bermuda Police Service”.  Is the issue with policing a lack of control?

Acting Police Commissioner Roseanda Young suggests that it is actually government, not the governor, who is responsible for the number of officers on the island, along with recruiting, training and equipment.  That due to the resources available, response times of police officers improved as a result of realignment in terms of shifting officers locations of patrol and start times, not the addition of resources.

Government MP Ashfield DeVent lashed out at the apparent response time improvement by contending that drug dealing occurs around the clock in his Pembroke seat.  He suggests “A few months ago when Police made a bigger presence in my area I was the first to commend them.” yet had also suggested that there were “people complaining that there was too great a Police presence”.  “Now I don’t see the Police and the drug activity is 24/7 — it’s in broad daylight.” he contends.  Is this due to the restructuring of resources to other areas?  Does it point to an overall lack of resources as officers must be moved from patrolling one area to another in order to cope?

Mr. DeVent suggests, “In regard to response times I would like to see the figures. There’s a perception among many people that they are not all that quick.”  But he then suggests that many residents don’t bother calling the Police because they feel nothing would happen.  If that is the case, why does he believe improved response times would make a difference?  Has it not been previously suggested that drug dealers post lookouts and scatter if the police arrive?  Thus, would response times make any difference for his constituency in comparison to the patrols that once occurred before resources were restructured?

If the issue isn’t so much about response times as it is the number of officers on patrol, does that fall under the responsibility of government as suggested by Acting Commissioner Young? 

Mr. DeVent has previously supported Sen. Burch’s call for the governor to relinquish powers over the police suggesting the Governor has ultimate responsibility for the Police service under the Constitution so must be held accountable for its failings. “The buck has to stop with him,” he said.   Yet earlier in the piece he suggests that government controls the budget and how much taxpayer money is allocated to fund the service so doesn’t that mean the literal buck stops with the government and not the governor?  Do resources not equate to funding and does this raise the question of whether it is adequate?

Is this a question of the government needing control over the police force or is it one of a lack of resources available for police perform it’s job adequately?  Is it possible the government is under-funding and under-resourcing the police service yet contesting that it isn’t doing it’s job effectively?  

Policing in Bermuda is very confusing.  What is the problem?  Is it lack of control?  Is it lack of resources?  Is it politicking? 

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