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Harold Moniz (1939-2023): ‘a caring and considerate senior officer’

Harold Moniz (1939-2023)

A “first class” former Deputy Commissioner of Police served as an officer for almost 40 years.

Harold Moniz was one of the island’s first narcotics officers, and headed the Police Motor Cycle Display Team, where he was a key member in both public displays and for escorts of dignitaries.

He joined the police at the age of 20 on August 1, 1959, at a time when the force had yet to offer training courses for new local recruits and there were few officers of Portuguese descent.

Mr Moniz spent his first year in the Western Division followed by a year in the Central Division before being transferred to central CID as a detective.

In 1961, Mr Moniz joined the newly created narcotics bureau with former police commissioner Frederick Bean.

He also served with traffic police, making a name for himself as a skilled motorcyclist.

Fellow officers recalled occasionally pursuing a younger Mr Moniz on his auxiliary cycle before he joined the police.

He had to wait until he was 21 before joining the motorcycle display team because the law of the day prohibited younger drivers from riding a motorcycle with gears.

The team, which was originally formed to provide escorts for the Governor, Major-General Sir Julian Gascoigne, performed stunts as well as demonstrating motorcycling skills.

Mr Moniz married his wife, Jill, in 1965, and the couple had two children, Stephen and Suzanne.

He was promoted to sergeant in 1967 and continued working in narcotics, where he rose to the rank of inspector in 1971.

During his tenure at narcotics, Mr Moniz witnessed Bermuda’s drug culture change from sporadic cannabis offences to the heroin blight of the 1970s, followed by cocaine use.

In 1980, police and Customs agents combined forces to tackle rising drug importation.

Mr Moniz was promoted to chief inspector in charge of the Eastern Division in 1978 and rose to superintendent the following year, followed by the rank of Assistant Commissioner in 1981. He was sworn in as Deputy Commissioner in 1998.

A tribute online by the Bermuda Ex-Police Association said: “Harold had a first-class reputation as a caring and considerate senior officer who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, and was always willing to provide guidance to those who worked under his command.”

Mr Moniz received the Colonial Police Long Service and Good Conduct medal in 1977, and in 1998 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal. He retired in 1999.

• Harold Stephen Moniz, a former Deputy Commissioner of Police, was born on July 22, 1939. He died on January 4, 2023, aged 83.

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Published January 09, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated January 09, 2023 at 7:23 am)

Harold Moniz (1939-2023): ‘a caring and considerate senior officer’

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