Log In

Reset Password

Police anti-corruption unit in pipeline

A dedicated “anti-corruption” department is being set up by the Bermuda Police Service after investigations into six officers in the past seven years, according to a public access to information disclosure.

The BPS told justice campaigner Eron Hill that the unit was a “prospective department that is in the process of being established”.

The BPS’s information officer wrote: “As of now, the responsibilities and functions that will eventually be undertaken by the anti-corruption department are currently managed by the professional standards department.

“The PSD, in conjunction with the crime division, handles all matters related to anti corruption, including investigations, enforcement and policy development.

“This department is equipped with the necessary expertise and resources to address issues of corruption within our organisation effectively.”

Mr Hill, a paralegal who runs the Bermuda Equal Justice Initiative, questioned why the anti-corruption department was not set up sooner, suggesting it was a kneejerk response to a police officer recently being charged in court with firearm and drug offences.

He told The Royal Gazette: “If they have been arresting and investigating officers since 2017, why did it take until now to say ‘we are going to set up an anti-corruption unit’?

“Was it because in the recent case, they had to actually reveal to the public that an officer was accused of a corruption-related offence?”

Mr Hill submitted his Pati request on April 25, the same day the officer appeared in court on the criminal charges.

He asked for the number of police officers arrested and/or under investigation in relation to corruption offences, and the number charged with corruption offences, since 2017. The response was six and four, respectively.

Mr Hill also sought the policies or written guidance issued to members of the anti-corruption unit, the number of officers assigned to the unit, and total spending on the unit in 2022 and 2023, prompting the answer that the unit was still in the works.

The information officer pointed Mr Hill to the Bribery Act and the Police (Conduct) Orders, both passed in 2016, for the legislation underpinning the PSD.

He said the BPS’s anti-bribery and corruption policy was classified as “restricted” so would not be released under Pati.

In addition to the information shared about corruption matters, the BPS told Mr Hill that there were three officers suspended from duty at present, pending the outcome of internal investigations/criminal investigations and/or criminal court cases.

The Gazette reported in 2021 that almost half of Bermuda’s police officers had been investigated for alleged wrongdoing in the previous three years, but the majority of complaints were resolved or dismissed.

Detective Chief Inspector Arthur Glasford, the head of the service’s professional standards department, said the unit investigated 173 officers between August 2018 and October 2021, when Stephen Corbishley was the Commissioner of Police.

Of those, 150 complaints were dealt with through informal resolution or were not upheld.

Mr Hill gave permission to be identified as the Pati requester for this article.

A police spokesman said that the Pati process for this matter has yet to be completed, “as such, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time”.

However, he added: “The BPS efforts at strengthening their anti-corruption stance predates the matters involving [an officer in question]. The first phase of this initiative was the forming of the Professional Standards Division, and this work continues.

“In fact, it is highlighted in our 2021-26 Strategic Plan, which is readily available on the BPS website.”

To read the BPS Pati response, see Related Media

EDITOR’S NOTE: the police response came after press time and could not be included in the print edition

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published June 11, 2024 at 7:56 am (Updated June 11, 2024 at 8:10 am)

Police anti-corruption unit in pipeline

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon