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Commissioner wanted to focus on communities

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Stephen Corbishley resigns as Commissioner of Police (File photograph)
Stephen Corbishley used social medial to communicate with the public when he was Commissioner of Police (File photograph)

A community-focused approach was favoured by former Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley and he often gave updates on social media.

Mr Corbishley, who quit yesterday, reintroduced parish constables and made a point of support for Bermuda’s first Pride parade, as well backing a march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

He said in June 2018, a few weeks before he took the top job at the Bermuda Police Service: “I want to work with local people, but particularly I want to work with local communities.

“I want to listen to their concerns, listen to what they need from the service to ensure that they’re safe and that they feel safe and to deal with some of the challenges that they face – whether they be antisocial behaviour, drug use, organised crime or, indeed, anything that requires the service of the police officers and staff under my command.”

Mr Corbishley’s tenure, which ended just over three years into a five-year term, included the return of parish constables in March 2019.

He said in June 2019, two months before the first Pride parade, that the police service should “be visible” in its backing of the event.

A police car was decorated with a rainbow to show support.

But Mr Corbishley later promised to consider “the views of all communities” and leaders when he announced a review into the management of the parade.

He said at the time that the police service had faced challenges for “community sensitivity”.

Mr Corbishley praised the “tremendous work” of police officers and the Government’s anti-gang task force after 2019 was the first year in more than two decades that the island recorded no murders.

He posted a “from the heart” message on Facebook after the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, a Minnesota police officer, in May last year.

Mr Corbishley said then that the BPS would support a march in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

He added: “I will march alongside my fellow man and woman to support them and seek to build even more trust in the BPS.”

Mr Corbishley said in October last year that he was “deeply upset” by claims made in a message circulated on WhatsApp, which he insisted were “wholly untrue”.

He said that he believed the memo originated from “a small minority of officers within the BPS who are aggrieved” at being held to account for “unprofessional behaviour”.

The message, which made several allegations about Mr Corbishley’s personal and professional life, took aim at him for speaking out on social matters and said police officers should “remain neutral”.

It claimed that Mr Corbishley was “not a good fit for Bermuda” and criticised his regular social media video blogs, which often appeared on Facebook.

Court cases that have involved the Commissioner of Police during his time in Bermuda included an action raised at first by the wife of a police sergeant whose home was searched last year.

Her husband was later added as a plaintiff.

They asked for a judicial review of a decision by police to raid their Warwick home last December and seize electronic equipment.

Officers searched their house and also the home of a police constable as part of a criminal inquiry into the leak of a legal document about Mr Corbishley’s divorce.

The policemen whose homes were raided denied any wrongdoing and were told in July that they would not face criminal charges.

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