PCA: “Complaints Received Cannot Be Upheld”

August 10, 2017

[Updated] The decision on the complaints filed by 26 people following the police use of pepper spray in December 2016 has just been released, with the Police Complaints Authority concluding that “no misconduct can be attributed to Officers at the Parliamentary grounds and thus the complaints received cannot be upheld,” however they added that there “is no question that mistakes were made in the BPS at senior levels.”

The decision said, “Following the gathering and protests by members of the general public Friday, December 2nd at the House of Assembly, the Police Complaints Authority [PCA] received 26 separate complaints against Officers of the Bermuda Police Service [BPS], concerning the actions of the Officers on duty and the deployment of captor spray by Officers against a backdrop of what was generally considered by those participating in the protest to be a lawful and peaceful assembly at and around the House of Assembly grounds.

“The PCA is satisfied that the Officers used Captor spray only when they properly believed that it was necessary. However, the PCA also has determined that the use of Captor could have and should been avoided but that the Officers had been put in the precarious position that they found themselves by their Commanders.

“Regarding individual Officers, the PCA is unanimous in concluding that no misconduct can be attributed to Officers at the Parliamentary grounds and thus the complaints received cannot be upheld. However, there is no question that mistakes were made in the BPS at senior levels

“This was a bad day for Bermuda, the BPS and the protesters, many of whom had only intended to be there to peacefully make known their views. It was bad for Bermuda, as it rekindled memories of darker times.

“It was bad for the BPS as it brought to light many inadequacies in the service that had accumulated over time and which demonstrated a total inability to deal with public order issues as and when they arose.

“It was bad for the majority of the protesters who had thought that this form of protest would not have any negative personal consequences but found that themselves inhaling Captor or, for some, having captor sprayed directly on them.

“There were even bad consequences for Officers, most who in their years of service in the BPS had never had been ordered to go into a large crowd to regain control. This in circumstances where the crowd was surprised by their appearance in their Bubble formation; the crowd became galvanized and hostile by reason of that.

“The crowd, comprising some well-known local leaders, became hostile to the Officers even to the extent of some who often socially inter-acted with Officers refusing to engage in discussion with the Officers. Some members of the crowd even made death threats to Officers and physically assaulted some of the Officers.

“Regarding individual Officers, the PCA is unanimous in concluding that no misconduct can be attributed to Officers at the Parliamentary grounds and thus the complaints received cannot be upheld. However, there is no question that mistakes were made in the BPS at senior levels. The NPoCC Report highlighted what it set out as the deficiencies in the BPS.

“There was reliance on Operational Manuals but it is the view of the PCA that there is no such thing as textbook roles in a crisis. We are somewhat encouraged by the frank acceptance of BPS that mistakes were made and in discussions which we have had with the most senior commanders of the BPS we were informed that training programs and future operations will result in more trained and focused leadership.

“It is unfortunate but those events of 2nd December have left a scar on Bermuda’s history and the relationship between the public and the police. However, in so far as it has been alleged that the Officers performing their duties in and around the grounds of the HOA were guilty of misconduct, the PCA is of the view that no blame can attach to those individual Officers.”

Update 9.21pm: Governor John Rankin said, “I am grateful to the Police Complaints Authority for their independent investigation into complaints made following the 2 December protests at the House of Assembly.

“Their decision in this matter sits alongside both the investigations and resulting court proceedings in relation to the actions of a number of the 2 December protestors and the peer review of the police response to the protest carried out by a senior UK police officer from the National Police Coordination Centre [NPoCC].

“The Police Complaints Authority’s decision finds that police officers only used captor spray when they properly believed it was necessary but also reflects the NPoCC’s conclusions regarding poor police planning and communication.

“I welcome the fact that the Police Commissioner accepted all of the recommendations in the NPoCC review and has acted on them in respect of both training and planning, as seen in the police approach to the demonstrations outside the House of Assembly on 3 and 10 February which took place without incident and which allowed Parliament to go about its lawful business.

“As Governor I look forward to continuing to work with the Police Commissioner and the Minister of National Security in the context of our respective responsibilities to continue to ensure that lessons are learned from the events of 2 December by all concerned and that any future protests pass off peacefully.”

The 11-page document follows below [PDF here]:

click here Bermuda protest on Dec 2nd

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Comments (42)

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  1. Christine says:

    We just need Dereck to tell us who “had guns and we’re gonna use them” investigate that and we talk about sorting gang violence …… … .please

  2. Mark says:

    So are the people who assaulted police and made death threats going to be charged? Im guessing not. Thats the saddest part of this whole thing. Those miscreants will get away with it and wont learn a lesson. I wonder if the same people will march and protest when things dont go their way under the new govt or will the union and church leaders get paid enough to keep them under control?

    • Micro says:

      Several have been brought before the courts…

    • Reuben says:

      They all had their day in court, two got charged and Sen. Hayward got something were basically he does something like this again in x months they add this to the new charge as well.

  3. Um.... says:

    Your move now MP Famous and Senator Hayward.

    • OMG says:

      Actually they already made a move. They kicked the UBP/oba out and told Bob the destroyer of airports to go home.

      PLP 24 – UBP/oba 12

      Now go back and change the name again and again.

      • Onion says:

        The problem is that every independent expert found that the Airport option chosen offered the best value for money. It was convenient for the PLP to oppose it politically but now they have to live with the economic reality.

        • Ok says:

          Well said

        • OBA NO WAY UBP NO WAY says:

          And you have to live with 24 – 12 vote. What a beautiful day it is.

          • Onion says:

            It doesn’t really affect me much at all. It’s the government workers at risk of losing their jobs and pensions if the PLP go back to ignoring financial advice.

            Not my problem.

            • Toodle-oo says:

              It’ll become your problem when the PLP passes legislation to go after your money in the bank and investments.
              Trust me, once they realize they can’t borrow any more and they fail at growing the economy because of the lack of trust that outside investors have with them it will happen .
              And they’ll specifically craft it to affect a ‘certain segment’ as they see fit .

            • Double S says:


          • Jus' Wonderin' says:

            It’s not a competition you f***** dummy! Wait til ya pension gets touched

  4. JohnBoy says:

    Well there you go – don’t start nuffin, won’t be nuffin!

  5. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    Oh my…what a revelation…

  6. Ohk, maybe it is just me, or not, but can someone tell us who authorized the pepper spraying in the first place, who and why was the senior officer from the U.K, here and involved at the level that he was, am I to believe we are discussing the same man who can be seen on social media, and seemingly very racist, if in fact I have the wrong individual, someone can explain who that man was in all the social clips.

    The most important thing is to me, who gave the command, and I did not see it in the information that was released. maybe i missed that part.

    • JohnBoy says:

      It’s in the report…

      Fact – There was no order given by any person in Command that Captor should be used – in every instance on the 2
       December when Captor was used, it was a decision made by the individual officer
      This is in accordance with the Use of Force Policy.

      • JohnBoy says:

         – The PCA heard from Officers during the course of sworn examination and we also reviewed media and police footage. Officers reported fearing for their own safety as well as for that of fellow Officers. The appearance of the Officers coming to execute the “Bubble” from Church Street on to Parliament Street galvanized those who were protesting and a dangerous and chaotic period followed. The PCA is satisfied that there was no general command to use Captor. Officers who used it did so in the belief that they were protecting themselves or a colleague and, to use the words of the Policy governing the use of Captor at paragraph 6.5:

        • Toodle-oo says:

          Unfortunately that’s not what DS and a whole lot of others want to read , or believe .
          They refuse to let go of their cast in concrete belief that it was ordered by the ‘OBA’

  7. Real Onion says:

    you reap what you sow!

  8. imjustsayin says:

    What a load of BS, the Police put themselves in that position by recklessly bum rushing the protesters. You do not go and rush into a crowd like that. You will never see that in any other jurisdiction. The actions of the BPS was reckless and irresponsible. Is this a case of the Police investigating themselves? If so I’m not surprised by the outcome. SMH!

    • You better never go anywhere else in the real world. We are so pandered in Bermuda. I am not saying it was right but the simple fact is The People blocked a Govt building for their own reasons which is illegal.
      Search out Russia and see what they would do or even the USA.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      No, this is not a case of the police investigating themselves. This is a decision of the INDEPENDENT Police Complaints Authority, a civilian group formed to oversee police actions and investigate complaints against police officers.

    • DanMBDA says:

      Uhhh…..’rushing’ the crowd is quite a common tactic by riot police against large crowds. They’ll form up in a line, usually with the Riot shields, and rush or walk in unison towards the crowd. See, well, ANY large scale protest anywhere in the world.

    • fu says:

      you live a very sheltered life.

  9. Unbelievable says:

    Oh and this was all a conspiracy by the OBA.

    Haha what a joke that was.

  10. Jus' Askin' says:


  11. Stupid says:

    Poor fellow.

  12. Stupid says:

    Police complaints officer refused to file my complaint ,sgt. why wear the uniform if you refuse to do the job? Just take it off and stay home!
    police complaints commissin are an absolute waste of time and money and should be disbanded remove the person that answers the phone there absolutely.

    • Butterfly says:

      Hmmm! I know the lady that works three. She is very pleasant and knowledgeable of her job. You probably presented yourself in a way whereby she had to politely put you in your place.

  13. San Geoge says:

    The devil made me do it, I enjoyed it and I was paid overtime to boot. A mystery wrapped in an enigma. The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice; 24-12.

    • Ok says:

      24-12 ain’t going to pay that 2 billion we owe is it?

    • Anbu says:

      Justice for who? U realize those lot u ousted are still filthy stinkin rich right? Lmao. Its hilarious the average plp supporter actually thinks theyve won something. Reminds me of the idiot rapper who spent 35K in a high end store that had just insulted him, just to show them he could. Lmao. Keep “stickin it to the man” tho. Lmao smh. This country is so frikkin awesome.

  14. princess says:

    Joe Bloggs: You mentioned this was an INDEPENDENT Police Complaints Authority apparently you have not been paying attention anyone that has filed a complaint against the police when it comes to assault the outcome is ALWAYS in favour of them. The question is who are these individuals who made this decision and what are their BELIEFS and outlook when it comes to social justice or better still social injustice. You speak of these individuals as if they are angels.

    • Jonathan D Smith says:

      Their names are a matter of public record and are listed at the end of the Report.

  15. Rocky5 says:

    Move on folks, job done 24 – 12. Now leaves door wide open for anti-PLP Marches and protests. Only a matter of time cuz we ALL REALLY KNOW THEY GONNA SCREW TINGS UP….

  16. princess says:

    W.E. Dubois: A system cannot fail those it was NEVER meant to protect.

  17. princess says:

    This was not a report it was propaganda.

  18. Fur says:

    They should consider themselves lucky that pepper spray was all they got. No where else in this world would you get away with how the protesters behaved and treated our MP’s and Police. Video does not lie and many of those people should have been arrested for their malicious acts. They got it right!!!