Log In

Reset Password

Retired police chief marks 80th birthday

First Prev 1 2 Next Last
Celebrating milestone: from left, police commissioner Michael DeSilva, Fred “Penny” Bean, Clive Donald, George Jackson and Jonathan Smith (Photograph supplied by Roger J. Sherratt)

Local dignitaries and the top brass of the Bermuda Police Service turned out in celebration of Frederick Bean’s 80th birthday on Monday.

The retired Commissioner of Police, affectionately known as “Penny” to his close circle of friends, was lauded for his outstanding achievements during his 35-year career.

His 1981 appointment as commissioner was indeed a watershed moment in history; he was the first born Bermudian to have the role and he held the post for nine years.

Prior to his appointment, police commissioners were appointed under the auspices and authority of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

The current commissioner, Michael DeSilva, and retired commissioners Clive Donald, Jonathan Smith and George Jackson were present for the festive occasion, along with a large contingent of officers who served under Mr Bean.

Mr DeSilva congratulated him on reaching the milestone. The event preceded his actual birthday, which he celebrated with family yesterday.

Mr Bean’s impact upon his former colleagues was legendary.

According to Mr DeSilva, members of the police service still speak fondly of him and respect him greatly. He presented him with a silver pocket watch bearing the crest of the Bermuda Police Service in honour of the occasion.

It was a most enjoyable evening and in appreciation, Mr Bean regaled his former colleagues with captivating accounts highlighting his career, some of which he confirmed could only be told to fellow police officers.

It all began in June 1956 when Frederick “Penny” Bean joined the Bermuda Police Force at the tender age of 19. It was during that period in our history when there was a highly discriminatory practice with no special training for local recruits, although recruits from England received three months’ training in Mill Meece, Staffordshire.

Mr Bean’s basic training included a week reading through law manuals under the direction of Inspector “Tug” Wilson. He was subsequently posted to a watch in Central Division, Hamilton Police Station.

Local recruits were often posted there, covering some of the roughest areas in Hamilton at that time — Reid Street East, Court Street and the “back of town”.

In March 1959, Mr Bean was posted to CID as a detective constable, and he worked under legendary Inspector “Bo” Swainson.

He worked on a team under the command of another excellent detective, Milton Murray Marsh, along with Sinclair Bean, Leon Bean, John Joe Sheehy and other CID officers.

In 1962 Mr Bean attended a detective training course in London and was also attached to New Scotland Yard for extra training. On returning from the UK he was promoted to detective sergeant and transferred to the Western Division, where Mr Marsh was the detective inspector.

In December 1965 Mr Bean was transferred to the newly formed narcotics department as the officer in charge. He and his team were successful in arresting several major drug dealers, mainly for marijuana offences.

Mr Bean rose rapidly through the ranks and was promoted to chief inspector in 1971 and simultaneously transferred to Special Branch. Two years later he was put in charge of that department and promoted to superintendent.

During his long career, Mr Bean attended numerous overseas courses including one at Bramshill in the UK. For his outstanding contributions and dedicated service, Mr Bean received an OBE in 1991. Additionally, he was awarded six commissioner’s commendations, one from the Supreme Court; the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal; the Colonial Police Medal for meritorious service and the Queen’s Police Medal.

Now formally retired, he remains very active and performs community service working with senior citizens and the sick and shut-in.

Highly respected: Commissioner Frederick “Penny” Bean joined the police at 19 and rapidly rose through the ranks (Photograph supplied by Roger J. Sherratt)