Police conduct probed 74 times in five years
Police have embarked on more than 70 internal investigations in the past five years, with six officers being thrown off the force.
The results of a Public Access to Information (Pati) request submitted to the Bermuda Police Service by The Royal Gazette lift the lid on sanctions imposed on officers for an array of misdemeanours on the job since 2009.
This newspaper was given more than 100 pages of handwritten and typed documents detailing internal complaints made against police officers and the results of those internal inquiries, although the names of the officers concerned were redacted.
Of the 74 complaints that have been investigated since the start of 2009, about a third were closed because of a lack of evidence or time issues, while there are still nine active investigations.
The sanctions imposed on officers range from verbal warnings to severe reprimands and immediate discharges.
The Pati request reveals that, in 2011, 24 internal investigations resulted in five officers being discharged from the force, one resigning and a further three officers being reprimanded or cautioned.
Four of the officers were discharged for “discreditable conduct” that included allowing a disqualified “priority and prolific offender” (PPO) to drive the officer's vehicle, and an officer “purporting to be someone else to communicate with a known PPO while he was in police custody”.
Other disciplinary sanctions outlined in the documents provided to The Royal Gazette include:
• March 2009: officer given severe reprimand for “discreditable conduct” — specifically non-declaration of goods
• August 2010: officer resigned after investigation into breach of security at the Premier's official residence
• September 2010: officer given severe reprimand for harassment
• October 2010: female officer discharged for disobeying lawful order and for neglect of duty
• January 2013: officer paraded in front of senior officer and made to apologise for communication with complainant via BPS e-mail in an unacceptable manner
• May 2014: officer resigned after investigation into complaint of overseas travel without permission and for being absent without leave
• November 2014: officer reprimanded for discreditable conduct
The nine internal complaints that the Professional Conduct Unit is investigating include allegations of sexual harassment, discreditable conduct, insubordination and falsifying annual leave.