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Gangs, armed burglaries on the agenda at first National Security Council meeting

The newly formed National Security Council met yesterday for the first time.

At a press conference following the meeting, Governor Sir Richard Gozney reported that gangs, security at and after football matches and recent armed burglaries had been on the agenda.

“We also looked, as a separate but linked subject, at the question of witness protection, because good protection for key witnesses has been important for quite a series of recent trials,” the Governor added.

Sir Richard was accompanied by other members of the NSC including Premier Paula Cox, Attorney General Kim Wilson, National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief and Junior Minister of National Security Jonathan Smith.

Premier Cox said that the establishment of the NSC brought several benefits. “It brings together key decision-makers and opinion-makers in the area of law and good order,” she said.

“The other security benefit is that it affords a useful vehicle for the intensified sharing of information which would otherwise be considered most restrictive. So it’s been useful, it’s been profitable, it’s been productive.”

She added that the Bermuda Police Service was committed to the NSC.

“What we want to make sure is that we benefit the people of Bermuda and we benefit the people of Bermuda when we are all singing from the same page and we are all on the same page.”

Asked why the Corrections Department was not represented in the new body, the Premier said that the NSC could request any person they feel relevant to a discussion and that could include the Commissioner of Prisons “at any given time”.

Asked whether she considers that the Island is facing a public safety crisis, the Premier said: “I don’t consider it a crisis because a crisis suggests you don’t have a plan and it also suggests that you are in the middle of chaos. What I do think is there is a real concern.”

She said that Government wanted to ensure that all relevant parties were “in the room on a regular basis” to support the BPS and the National Security Minister.

“It certainly is a crosscutting agenda when you have those who are acting unlawfully. It doesn’t just affect national security. It actually affects the social and economic livelihood of the country.”

Premier Cox announced the formation of the NSC in her Budget Statement last month.

Government House subsequently announced that the council will focus on internal security matters as it relates to the prioritisation of the Bermuda Police Service and its role in law enforcement in Bermuda.

It will be provided with regular briefings on internal security and significant criminal activity by police, but operational and staffing matters will remain outside the council’s remit.

The new council will meet every two months, although meetings can be called at any time by the Governor in consultation with the Premier.

Premier Paula Cox speaks at press conference following the inaugural meeting of the National Security Council. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published March 29, 2012 at 9:52 am (Updated March 29, 2012 at 9:52 am)

Gangs, armed burglaries on the agenda at first National Security Council meeting

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