Police Advisory: General Election Policing Plan

July 14, 2017

In advance of the General Election on Tuesday, 18th July, the police have issued an advisory detailing their policing plan for the day.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police James Howard Remarks:

The Bermuda Police Service [BPS] would like to make the public aware of the following in the lead up to the General Election on Tuesday, 18th July 2017 in addition to the role of the police.

Polling stations will be opened at 8.00 a.m. and will close at 8.00 p.m. on Election Day.

Every voter must show identification to vote. Acceptable forms of ID are a commonwealth passport, a Bermuda driver’s licence, a Special Persons Card, Voters Identification Card.

The police have a role to play in assisting those members of the public who wish to exercise their rights to vote at the polling stations.

It is our duty on Election Day to maintain the peace and good order at all polling stations, as outlined in the Parliamentary Election Act in addition to assisting with traffic management as necessary.

To help achieve this, the BPS has established a policing plan to assist in facilitating the unobstructed access to the polling stations for those persons with legitimate access.

Police officers will be stationed at every polling station to assist and provide reassurance to Candidates and Election officers.

Additionally the BPS would like to remind the public of certain offences that can be committed under the Parliamentary Election Act, 1978 [as amended 1999].

  • It is an offence to behave in a violent, offensive or disorderly manner in or about the Polling Station or within 50 metres of same or improperly disturbs or impedes the proceedings
  • It is also an offence to fail to leave a polling station when requested to by the Returning Officer
  • Any person who, during the hours the Polling Station is open, assembles or congregates with other persons in any Polling Station, or within 50 metres thereof, without the Returning Officer’s permission shall be guilty of an offence. [Persons queuing to vote at a Polling Station shall not be deemed guilty of such an offence].
  • Any person who furnishes or supplies any loudspeaker to any person with intent that it be carried or used on any automobile, truck or other vehicle for the purposes of political propaganda on Polling Day in a constituency where a parliamentary election is taking place commits an offence.

While the BPS expects the elections to be peaceful and orderly the following list of prohibited activities is provided for information purposes:

Under the Parliamentary Election Act, 1978 [as amended 1999]

  • Section 55 [1] Any person who is alleged to have committed the offence of impersonation of a voter, will be arrested without warrant by a police officer, if instructed to do so by the Returning Officer.
  • Section 61 [1] [a] [i] Any person who behaves in a violent, offensive or disorderly manner in or about the Polling Station or within 50 metres thereof, or improperly disturbs or impedes the proceedings commits an offence.
  • Section 61 [1] [a] [ii] Any person who fails to leave the Polling Station, when requested to by the Returning Officer, commits an offence.
  • Section 61 [1] [a] [iii] Any person who interferes with a voter engaged in voting commits an offence.
  • Section 61 [1] [c] Any person who, during the hours the Polling Station is open, assembles or congregates with other persons in any Polling Station, or within 50 metres thereof, without the Returning Officer’s permission shall be guilty of an offence. [persons queuing to vote at a Polling Station shall not be deemed guilty of such an offence].
  • Section 63 [1] Any person who arms himself with any offensive weapon during any part of polling day, and being so armed approaches within one [1] kilometre of the Polling Station [unless called upon to do so by lawful authority] commits an offence.
  • Section 63 [2] [a] Any person who furnishes or supplies any loudspeaker to any person with intent that it be carried or used on any automobile, truck or other vehicle for the purposes of political propaganda on Polling Day in a constituency where a parliamentary election is taking place commits an offence.
  • Section 63 [2] [b] Any person with such intent carries on any automobile, truck or other vehicle any such loudspeaker on Polling Day commits an offence.
  • Section 65 [1] [a] Any person who directly or indirectly, by himself or through any other person on his behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force or violence or restraint upon or against any person, in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting or on account of that person having voted or refrained from voting commits an offence.
  • Section 65 [1] [b] Any person who directly or indirectly, by himself or through any other person on his behalf, inflicts or threatens to inflict any temporal or spiritual injury, damage, harm or loss, upon or against any person, in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting or on account of that person having voted or refrained from voting commits an offence.
  • Section 65 [2] [a] Any person who directly or indirectly, by himself or through any other person, by abduction, duress, or any fraudulent device or contrivance, impedes or prevents any person from freely exercising his right to vote at a parliamentary election, commits an offence.
  • Section 65 [2] [b] Any person who directly or indirectly, by himself or through any other person, by abduction, duress, or any fraudulent device or contrivance, compels, induces or prevails upon any person either to vote or refrain from voting at a parliamentary election, commits an offence.
  • Section 70 [1] Any person who on polling day, before the closing of the poll, by himself or with others, gives or provides by way of organised treating, any intoxicating liquor for consumption by electors in connection with the holding of the parliamentary election, commits an offence.

Note – In this section “organised treating” means the giving or providing of intoxicating liquor to some person without charge or at a reduced or unduly small charge to the person consuming such liquor under some arrangement which but for the election would not have been made.

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