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Commissioner keen to utilise advisory groups

Future plan: Stephen Corbishley will prepare Bermudian oficers to take top job (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Police are to explore the use of independent advisory groups to give people “more of a voice in relation to how policing is delivered”, the island’s new police commissioner has said.

Stephen Corbishley said independent advisory groups, made up of volunteer members of the public, are used by the police in Britain to flag up problems that could influence policing decisions.

Mr Corbishley added that he was committed to a police command succession plan to prepare Bermudian officers for the top job.

Mr Corbishley’s five-year appointment was criticised in Parliament by Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security.

Mr Caines said former commissioner Michael DeSilva and John Rankin, the Governor, had failed to develop Bermudians to head the police.

Mr Corbishley said: “We’re seeking to address the development of quite a clear training and personal development plan for all members of the BPS, with particular focus on identifying not just a future commissioner, but other senior leaders for the service.

“I have a diverse mix of officers and staff from different countries, different backgrounds, different faiths, and that enables a fantastic team in dealing with those issues.”

The commissioner said it was “clearly important to support, develop and enable Bermudians to reach the highest rank in the service”.

He added: “I am out to support every member of the BPS in achieving their full potential and deliver a first-class service to the public.”

Mr Corbishley said he had “very ambitious plans, because it’s things I have done before, around empowering communities to have a lot more of a voice”.

The commissioner added he was keen to hear from “diverse groups, whether they be LGBT, faith groups, or the disabled”.

He said: “One of the models I’ve used before is independent advisory groups, which come together and give views and direction to the way in which services should be shaped.

“I’m also extremely keen to give young people a voice. Some of the issues we address often don’t take their views into account.”

Mr Corbishley, who took over the top job in the service at the start of August, said Bermuda’s police faced financial problems common to forces around the world and needed to modernise.

The commissioner added he was “extremely keen” to open up the ranks of the Bermuda Police Service to “recruit people directly to specialist roles”.

He said “tomorrow’s employees” were more likely to view their careers in “blocks of three to four years” rather than a lifetime vocation.

He added: “The previous days of police officers joining us and doing 25 to 30 years, to some degree, is now difficult to achieve.

“I am extremely keen that the BPS becomes the employer of choice, and that to join is not simply working through the ranks.

“I want to see us able to recruit people direct to specialist roles. So if you’re an accountant, I want you to join us in financial investigating; if you’re in law, I want you to join us as a detective.”

Mr Corbishley said he envisaged the BPS would offer “a variety of direct entry opportunities” that could include joining the service at different ranks.

He said: “There are a great many people out there with experience in other sectors — it’s very possible they could join in a more senior role, whether it be as officers or as police staff.

“Finally, in regards to police staff, I want to work hard in not just creating the opportunities for them, but looking at ways in which their roles can be developed to deal with some of the specialist responsibilities that we have to deliver. It’s an exciting future.”