National Security Minister: St. George’s Policing

October 20, 2017 | 18 Comments

Saying that it is important to discuss “some important facts surrounding the considerations for policing St. George’s,” Minister of National Security Wayne Caines provided an overview of the matter in the House of Assembly today [Oct 20].

“Statistically, the parish of St. George’s records amongst the lowest amount of crime across the nine parishes,” Minister Caines said.

“Notwithstanding the statistically safe nature of the Town of St. George’s, the Bermuda Police Service acknowledges that fear of crime and feelings of safety [or the lack thereof] are equally as important as actual crime itself.”

The Minister said there has been much discussion around the relocation of the eastern police station from Southside to the Town of St George’s, saying that ”opinions may be divided on this issue but any such move must consider” aspects including not having a need to operate from Southside and the town at the same time, a long-term rental agreement with BLDC for Southside, and the old police station in St. George’s not being “habitable, fit for police purposes, nor large enough. ”

The old police station in St George’s pictured in 2010:

St. George's Police Station Dec 31 10-1_wm

“The Commissioner has made it clear to me that the BPS is not tied to Southside as an operating facility and have no objections to moving the police station, ” Minister Caines said.

” I felt it necessary to inform this Honourable House of these considerations and to assure the people of St. George’s that these issues are on the front burner.

“This Ministry will continue to work with the Commissioner to determine the best policing plan in support of St. George’s, providing a solution that inspires confidence, serves the growing Town well and is economically viable for the long term.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, policing in Bermuda involves some community nuances that even in 2017 require special attention. The strength of our society is in the community spirit and ownership of community issues. Strong communities form the foundation of who we are as Bermudians.

This Government has committed to supporting the Police in their efforts to promote safe communities and since my appointment as Minister of National Security; I have emphasized this point to the Commissioner of Police and his senior command.

In the first instance, Mr. Speaker, I have regularly discussed the policing of St. George’s with the Honourable Members Mrs. Ming and Mr. Swan from Constituencies 1 and 2 respectively.

Both of them have clearly set out the needs of their constituents and the importance of providing a robust plan for the policing of St. George’s. I have been impressed by their commitment and determination on this front.

Mr. Speaker, it is important to place in the record of this Honourable House and in the public domain some important facts surrounding the considerations for policing St. George’s.

Statistically, the parish of St. George’s records amongst the lowest amount of crime across the nine parishes. The Town of St. George records a small percentage of the parish’s total crime.

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the statistically safe nature of the Town of St. George’s, the Bermuda Police Service acknowledges that fear of crime and feelings of safety [or the lack thereof] are equally as important as actual crime itself.

Mr. Speaker, the aim of the BPS is to police the town in a manner that inspires public confidence.

There is currently one Community Action Team [CAT] officer assigned to full-time duties in the town, and the rest of the CAT officers work on specific community problems on a regular basis. Uniformed patrols from Southside Police Station and Armed Response Vehicles [ARVs] are directed to patrol the town on a daily basis.

Mr. Speaker, if there is to be future development of the town [and the surrounding area]; an integral part of that development process should include a policing plan. If new hotels and cruise ships bring substantial traffic and pedestrian increases to the town, it will be prudent to consider options to increase police presence.

Mr. Speaker, in the case of Dockyard, for example, the arrival a few years ago of two “mega” cruise ships warranted the establishment of a satellite police office that is staffed whenever the cruise ships are in port.

Mr. Speaker, there has been much discussion around the relocation of the eastern police station from Southside to the Town.

Mr. Speaker, opinions may be divided on this issue but any such move must consider the following:

a. There is no need to operate from Southside Police Station and within the town at the same time. Nor would it be efficient or economic to do so. Only one location, or the other, should be considered.

b. There is a long-term rental agreement with BLDC for Southside, and the building also houses Stores and the Forensic Crime Unit, so no cost savings will be immediately achieved there. However, Mr. Speaker, there are other police units that could be relocated to Southside and cost savings might be made on other current rentals. This is of particular interest to me owing to my responsibility for the budget in this area.

c. Additionally, Mr. Speaker, the “old” police station in St. George’s is neither habitable, fit for police purposes, nor large enough. None of the many refurbishments have managed to fix the multitude of problems, including leaking roof and rotting joists. This location, in my view, is not a likely option.

d. I am advised that other locations were considered including Somers Play House and the old Youth Centre on Water Street. There may well be other suitable buildings. Factors like location, satisfactory parking, adequate size to accommodate staff and equipment, and all general safety and health requirements must be considered.

e. Mr. Speaker, whilst a custody suite is not mandatory, if one is included, it must comply with the requirements of the Police and Criminal Evidence [PACE] Act as it relates to the safe custody of detained persons. This includes bedding, CCTV, climate control, security, and safety concerns.

Mr. Speaker, the Commissioner has made it clear to me that the BPS is not tied to Southside as an operating facility and have no objections to moving the police station. This of course is provided that the police officers are moved into an appropriately fitted building that properly supports policing operations.

Mr. Speaker, I felt it necessary to inform this Honourable House of these considerations and to assure the people of St. George’s that these issues are on the front burner.

This Ministry will continue to work with the Commissioner to determine the best policing plan in support of St. George’s, providing a solution that inspires confidence, serves the growing Town well and is economically viable for the long term.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (18)

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  1. puzzled says:

    Garbage on all sides.
    I’ll get back once my blood pressure goes down.

  2. On the beat says:

    People need to understand that the Eastern Police department cover from Hermitage road to St George and St. Davids.
    The best place for a police Station would actually be in the middle of that area maybe near the Swizzle Inn. Nobody comes from the East into St. George.
    All that is needed in St George is a little shop front type place manned from maybe 8am to 8pm. An officer could clock on and off there.
    The days of 24 hr police stations are over. Why does a Police station need to be open at night? If it is urgent the police will come to you.
    In the UK most Police stations are only open during the day. Even in built up areas.

  3. Rocky5 says:

    “Statistically, the parish of St. George’s records amongst the lowest amount of crime across the nine parishes,” Minister Caines said.” Because the people of St. Georges are so fed up they no longer bother calling the Police!!

  4. Bonny & Clyde says:

    CASINO, lots of cash (cashless casino total bull)and no police presence… Good thinking guys.

  5. Pondering says:

    Why is it so difficult to understand why a police station is needed in St George’s. Currently St G may indicate the lowest amount of crime (& when was this statistic taken?) but if you’ve walked the streets, you’ll see the drug deals going on and the groups in various places using loud and offensive language. And if there are traffic lights on the bridge, as there were a few months ago, then what. The town needs not only a police station but an ambulance and a fire service as well. If the building is in that bad a condition, build it up again. Is it just going to sit there until it starts to crumble? If St G is to have a hotel, a casino, a cruise ship in addition to all of the residents, I think these are absolutely warranted. Oh, and thanks ‘On the beat’ we’ll ensure any crime takes place between 8 & 8 ! It’s like the cameras that were put up, do you think the dealers aren’t going to move!! What about those cameras anyway – were they ever done??

    • On the beat says:

      The Police should not be at the Police station. They should be out on the beat. Whether that is Hermitage road or St George. The only reason there should be any thing open at all is for tourist type enquiries or collection of police brochures for crime prevention etc.
      Do you really want Policeman just sitting in a station?
      Usually it a civilian station duty officer in there who has no Police powers of arrest etc.
      I can’t see the problem of coming to work at Southside and then working in St. Georges area all day.
      Does the actual station just give you a warm and fuzzy feeling?
      As long as someone is patrolling St George be it on foot or in a car that should be sufficient.

  6. alistair m says:

    Just another nail in St Gs coffin if you ask me. So many empty shops already, now an empty and falling apart police station ….. I agree with a comment above – take over one of the empty shops and put two or three cops there.
    And if Govt is not using the police station, for goodness sake knock it down and put something else there, like a garden?

  7. Kevin says:

    Well St. George’s you get what you ask for , sure bet you were all told that the Police station was a high priority and hell bet they even threw in a Fire Station some folks will believe anything ….and you did

  8. really says:

    On the 5th November 2012 PLP Mr Weeks was pictured with garbage trucks in an article:

    8 New garbage trucks were bought @ $125,160 each bringing the fleet up to 19 trucks !!!!!!!!!!

  9. Earth watch police says:

    Well st George’s plp screwed you before get ready for round 2

  10. aceboy says:

    You’re a talker. Listening to talkers makes me thirsty.

  11. Warrior says:

    St. David’s Police Station – phone doesn’t work outside the door connecting you to Switchboard or somewhere and they in turn call the Police Station. There is no one on the front desk. It’s ridiculous… either you want an operational police station or you want Reserve Constabulary manning both on a voluntary basis in St. David’s and St. George’s.

  12. Stevie says:

    PLP closed the St Georges station. Short term memory loss again.

  13. Eddie the expat says:

    “hi… There’s nobody here to take your call at the moment. Please report your crime after the beep… “

  14. Ringmaster says:

    The PLP was Government in 2012:

    The station closed in September 2012, and at that time it was stated the “restoration is anticipated to take six weeks to complete.” While the station was closed, policing operations for the East End continued from the Southside Police Station.

    Now the PLP say building is so bad in can’t be used. Who did such a poor job of restoration? It’s the same Government now as then. Why is Bermuda being so badly Governed?

    • Zevon says:

      And in fairness, even now in his long-winded speech, the minister did not indicate that this PLP government will do a darn thing about it. Except for whine and wring their hands.

  15. Pondering says:

    If they did that, maybe it would. I’d say you don’t live in St Georges and you haven’t seen the changes.

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