Minister of National Security Renée Ming announced plans “to introduce a Police Authority which will comprise Government House, the Government, the police and laymen working together to establish Bermuda’s policing priorities”.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday (November 17), on her Ministry’s Throne Speech initiatives, she said government will also “determine the funding required to properly support our valued service”.

Overall, she said the new Police Authority will place a greater emphasis on the island’s community policing.

Moving forward, the Minister said a national crime prevention plan would be drawn up to address “gun, knife and gang violence”, to “forge key partnerships” to identify programmes and policies to combat violent crime in Bermuda.

Plans are also underway to introduce parenting classes for the benefit of “vulnerable and at-risk young people”.

“We want to ensure we are providing Bermuda’s at-risk families with the right guidance and support they need to thrive,” said Ms Ming.

“Over the past year, the Bermuda Police Service has sought to engage in best practices as it relates to our policing.”

In her opening remarks, the Minister noted that “today’s economic and social complexities challenge law enforcement to sensitively and effectively police communities”.

On the issue of violence, she said: “We know there is still much work to be done to bring lasting calm to Bermuda’s communities. And we are committed to safeguarding our neighbourhoods and communities.

“The Ministry of National Security will continue its priority of tackling the root causes of crime and working towards reducing violence in our community,” she added.

“Our intent is to create a National Crime Prevention plan that will focus on prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration. The National Crime Prevention plan will forge key partnerships with stakeholders to identify policies and programmes to reduce crime and ensure that our community is protected.

“We intend to utilize our existing mechanisms to address gun, knife and gang violence – this includes continuing with initiatives such as the GREAT Programme, which restarted with the resumption of schools; the Redemption Farm programme which is set to restart with a new cohort of trainees; and continuing to support the important work of the Gang Violence Reduction Team (GVRT) – which has been invaluable during the pandemic and most recently during our increase in violent activities.”

In closing, the Minister said: “We want to ensure that we are providing Bermuda’s vulnerable and at risk families with the right guidance and support they need to thrive.

“It’s been said that a healthy family setting is important as it provides a sense of belonging to those who make up the family unit. As part of our focus this upcoming session, we will seek to develop secure family structures by providing parenting classes to mothers, fathers and guardians,” she said.

“We believe that our vulnerable and at risk young people will be the ultimate beneficiaries as these specialized guidance sessions will contribute to their emotional, social and behavioral development.