Parts of PACE will wait until new court building is ready
Sections of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) will be suspended until the completion of the new Magistrates' Court building.
While the PACE legislation is intended to update Police detention powers, Government Senator Kim Wilson said Police are still being trained, and existing facilities are not PACE-compliant.
Speaking in the Senate yesterday, Sen Wilson said: “There are no officers that are PACE-compliant. Not only are they not quite trained, but they don't have the facilities.”
PACE legislation, intended to reform the way Police carry out their duties, is being introduced in four stages to allow the Police to adapt to the new procedures over time. Two sections have already been introduced.
Senate Leader Col David Burch said the Bermudian implementation of PACE makes Bermuda a trailblazer, but said that challenges come with breaking new ground.
“Guinea pigs. That is what we are on the introduction of PACE, and we said that in the beginning,” Col Burch said. “It's a living, breathing, evolving document.
“It's raising the bar, and there will be other amendments too.”
He said that in order to make the Island PACE ready, he as the Minister responsible made the decision to have PACE-approved facilities installed in the Magistrates' Court Building rather than specially training officers and setting up PACE-approved ‘satellites'.
While he said the new facilities are more expensive in the short term, they would save money in the long term.
United Bermuda Party Senator Michael Dunkley asked why the legislation was put forward before facilities were in place.
“We understand the need, but why wasn't that seen when the first legislation was passed,” Mr Dunkley asked.
“This is like taking a step forward and then taking a quick step back because we weren't prepared.
“If you take all of that, the underlining message, is if we are going to do this, we need to have a system in place that works well.”
While Mr Dunkley also expressed concern that we are adopting PACE while the UK is looking at moving away from it, Sen Kim Wilson said following the UK has given Bermuda the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
Senators approved the amendment unanimously.