20,000 BPS Conviction Records To Be Digitised

March 4, 2018 | 7 Comments

An initiative is planned for the “significant modernization” of police criminal recordkeeping, Minister of National Security Wayne Caines said, with some 20,000 handwritten and typed conviction records — that date back to 1930 — to be digitised and stored electronically.

Speaking in the House of Assembly, Minister Caines said, “The BPS has an information sharing agreement with ACPO’s national Criminal Records Office [ACRO] in the UK for the purpose of sharing conviction information on British and Bermudian nationals and residents that travel between the two jurisdictions.

The Minister said the BPS Criminal Records Office holds approximately 20,000 hard copy conviction records — a combination of handwritten and typed — that date back to 1930.

“In order to improve the efficiency of the Criminal Records Office [which has only two staff members], and to protect the paper-based system from potential loss or damage, it is our intention to digitise the records and store them electronically,” Minister Caines said.

“This process includes scanning the original record and entering the data in a two-stage verification procedure to maintain data integrity. Without a dedicated resource for this function, however, it would take many years to convert 20,000 records.”

“An opportunity has been presented by ACRO, the UK’s criminal records office, to second a member of their staff to the BPS to assist with the record conversion process.

“The aim is not to tackle the entire stack of records but rather to prioritize those conviction records of sex offenders, gang nominals, and high harm offenders including those with a Bermuda passport and those with a UK passport. In this way, the most significant conviction records will be captured electronically with further record conversion to take place over time.

“The secondment is proposed for 3 months, and the cost to the BPS is approximately $4000,” the Minister said.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise this Honourable House and the public of an initiative that will see the significant modernization of the criminal recordkeeping methodology of the Bermuda Police Service.

Mr. Speaker, the BPS has an information sharing agreement with ACPO’s national Criminal Records Office [ACRO] in the UK for the purpose of sharing conviction information on British and Bermudian nationals and residents that travel between the two jurisdictions.

The BPS Criminal Records Office [CRO] holds approximately 20,000 hard copy conviction records [a combination of handwritten and typed] that date back to 1930.

In order to improve the efficiency of the Criminal Records Office [which has only two staff members], and to protect the paper-based system from potential loss or damage, it is our intention to digitise the records and store them electronically in the BPS records management system [RMS].

Mr. Speaker, this process includes scanning the original record and entering the data in a two-stage verification procedure to maintain data integrity. Without a dedicated resource for this function, however, it would take many years to convert 20,000 records.

An opportunity has been presented by ACRO, the UK’s criminal records office, to second a member of their staff to the BPS to assist with the record conversion process.

The aim is not to tackle the entire stack of records but rather to prioritize those conviction records of sex offenders, gang nominals, and high harm offenders including those with a Bermuda passport and those with a UK passport. In this way, the most significant conviction records will be captured electronically with further record conversion to take place over time.

Mr. Speaker, ACRO will also be given remote electronic access to these records so they can conduct their own searches. The Commissioner of Police has confirmed that this arrangement will reduce the demands on the staff, and speed up the information sharing process.

Moreover, Mr. Speaker, this proposal adheres to information management best practices, enables proportionate access to law enforcement agencies and provides clear lines of accountability. The data contained within RMS will remain the property of the BPS at all times. ACRO use will include searching, printing and exporting information, with users subject to BPS auditing.

The secondment is proposed for 3 months, and the cost to the BPS is approximately $4000.

Mr. Speaker, there are other concurrent benefits of this initiative:

  • once digitized there will be 24/7 access by BPS staff, rather than limited to CRO office hours.
  • Potential RMS access granted to partner agencies like the DPP, the Courts, and the Department of Court Services
  • with significant police time spent on vetting of individuals, there will now be potential for relocating that function to another department
  • the BPS will now have the ability to research Prolific Priority Offenders [PPOs] based on criminal convictions; and
  • the elimination of the risk of hard copy convictions being destroyed.

Mr. Speaker, this positive use of an established international relationship will assist in modernizing a significant feature of criminal justice administration and improve the efficiency of the Bermuda Police Service in this critical area of criminal recordkeeping.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker,

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Comments (7)

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  1. Zevon says:

    So they want us to think the total cost of this is $4,000.
    Another PLP myth.

  2. puzzled says:

    I would not, repeat not destroy these handwritten et al documents.
    They should be archived just in case.

  3. Easter Bunny says:

    The beginnings of a Police State for when he becomes Boss? Manadatory DNA is right around the corner.

  4. Longtail says:

    No doubt long overdue. What the Minster has obviously failed to divulge, however, is when – if ever – have more recent court records been stored electronically? It is fine to talk about records going back to 1930 that now need to be converted to an electronic format, but some assurances should have been given that more recent court records have been stored electronically as matter of course for many years now. Why is there no mention of this in the Minister’s comments?

  5. puzzled says:

    Because he Caines…………………………
    This is the new PLP. The Caines Brother show directed by Ewart and promoted by a very Famous person.

    Sleep tight for now.

  6. Joop says:

    I hope the Police Department is paying attention to the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1977 which, broadly speaking, frees people of their criminal convictions after 7 years of good behaviour. The Act makes it an offence for anyone, including the police, to publish details of convictions after that 7 year period.

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