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Police on guard for retaliation

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National security minister: Wayne Caines speaks at a press conference with Assistant Commissioner Martin Weekes

Police will target hotspots and prolific offenders this weekend in a bid to foil any potential retaliation to last Friday’s gun murder, it was revealed yesterday.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Martin Weekes told a press conference that the Bermuda Police Service was working with the Ministry of National Security and the Crisis Response Team to avoid an escalation of gang tensions.

Mr Weekes said: “We will be proactively policing certain hotspots and certain individuals that we expect would be likely to do this sort of thing.”

He added: “We are an intelligence-led police service, so we keep our ears to the ground. We work closely with our partners in the ministry. We feed a lot of information into the system, who are out there trying to help us calm things down and to avoid retaliation.”

Mr Weekes was speaking at a press conference to outline the Cup Match holiday policing plan in the wake of the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Taylor Grier.

He said police would carry out high visibility patrols that would pay “particular attention to incidents of public disorder, antisocial behaviour and weapons possession”.

Mr Weekes added: “Those persons who are not deterred by the presence of the police and commit offences can expect to be promptly arrested and placed before the courts.”

He also emphasised that the BPS would be working with the Bermuda Reserve Police, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, the Parks Department and security officers at events “to ensure a safe environment”.

Mr Weekes also reminded the public to expect traffic delays at Horseshoe Bay on Thursday and heading into Somerset on both Thursday and Friday.

Boaters were warned to ensure their vessels are registered, have all the required safety equipment on board and to stick to the five knot, no wake zones.

Mr Weekes also urged the public to ensure their homes, cars and bikes are secured to avoid crimes of opportunity.

He added police were aware of an apparent increase in the amount of the party drug Ecstasy on the island.

Mr Weekes said the police had heard of “anecdotal experiences” of the drug.

He added: “We would urge everyone to be very careful with their drinks when they are in licensed premises, or whether they are at one of these major events.”

Mr Weekes added: “Our final message this year is to encourage everyone to exercise patience, tolerance and caution to help the BPS to do our job.”

He appealed to the public and particularly anyone involved in violent crime to think about what Cup Match “means to their community and to not spoil these events for the Bermuda community as a whole”.

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, added that up to 50 additional police officers would be on duty overnight “to deal with any increases in illegal or antisocial activities”.

He said there would also be CCTV cameras covering the Somerset Cricket Club grounds for the first time and up to 50 police officers daily, with a command centre on site. Mr Caines also repeated the Ministry and BPS’s zero tolerance policy for people operating vehicles and boats while under the influence of alcohol.

He added: “If you are found to be under the influence and in control of a vehicle, you will be arrested. So please, don’t drink and drive.”

Mr Caines added that the Co-ordinated Crisis Response Team, which was activated after Friday’s fatal shooting, would also be operational over the holiday weekend. He said members would be available at Agape Faith in Dockyard, Beulah Tabernacle in Somerset, and Vernon Temple AME and Southampton Seventh-day Adventist church in the event of a major crisis.

He said the aim was to ensure that the festivities remain “safe and free of antisocial behaviour.”

National security minister: Wayne Caines speaks at a press conference with Assistant Commissioner Martin Weekes