• End of Year Statement by the Commissioner of Police, Stephen Corbishley…

As the year closes I reflect on 12 months of hard work and success achieved by the officers and staff of the Bermuda police service. I am also pleased that there are lesser times I am referred to as the ‘new commissioner’ not least as I have made Bermuda my home as much as my work place.

I am so proud of what the BPS have delivered, not least as much is unknown to the public. Indeed that should be the case as I am believer in preventing crime rather than sorting things when they have gone wrong. Prevention means fewer victims, greater public safety as well as increased community confidence and that is our primary business.

Top of that list is protecting life and this year has seen the absence of homicide, particularly involving firearms and a continuing fall in road related deaths, whilst the thoughts and prayers of the BPS remain with those families who have lost loved ones.

To achieve the above we work in partnership, with government, local agencies and above all the public.

The founder of the first police service, Robert Peel, remarked that the public are the police and the police are the public. That statement remains true and without public engagement and support our job cannot be done.

This year we have seen the expansion of our Community Policing model, with the allocation of Parish Constables across the island and 2 new Community Constables, soon to be added to look after our marine community. We have invested in our Vulnerable Persons Unit, to be better placed to find and address what is often referred to as hidden harm, such as domestic abuse and exploitation, particularly those that target children and including on the internet.

We have maintained our financial investigation capabilities to support our national mandate of investigating money laundering and other financial crime, not least in partnership with other government services and the financial sector.

We have also changed our shift pattern, which means greater uniform visibility on our streets and a focus on being in the right place at the right time.

We have also seized firearms and drugs before they could get into the hands of those who would cause damage to others, thereby protecting the safety and health of many.

Finally, we have invested in our ability to ensure professional standards and integrity across the BPS so the community have confidence in us and that we also have the ability to investigate aspects of corruption elsewhere.

What gives me most pleasure, though, is the feedback I get from the public to our work. Yes there are times we get it wrong and yes we will accept that, make amends and learn from it. However, I receive on a daily basis letters and emails from the public thanking officers and staff for not just the work they do, but the extra mile they have taken in looking after victims and members of the public.

As commissioner, I am proud but not complacent, as we have much work to do in 2020 to ensure everyone continues to be safe and we build even more community relationships.

But my favourite moment of this year remains from a couple of months ago when I was coming into work and a guy shouted across the road to me in full on Bermudian ‘hey commish, you guys are doing a good job’.

That is What we continually want to achieve for everyone.

From everyone in the BPS, we wish all our communities, peace, safety, happiness and to know our services are never more than a phone call away.