Minister On Appointment Of Police Commissioner

June 1, 2018 | 15 Comments

“We believe that the Governor must make it a clear priority for the new Commissioner to identify, highlight, train and develop high fliers in the Bermuda Police Service and implement a comprehensive career development plan to ensure that at the end of his 5 year contract, in the summer of 2023; a Bermudian is ready to lead the BPS.”

This was from Minister of National Security Wayne Caines in the House of Assembly today [June 1], with the Minister speaking after it was announced that the Governor has appointed British police officer Stephen Corbishley, to succeed Michael DeSilva as Bermuda’s next Commissioner of Police.

Minister Caines said, “The Governor is responsible for operational policing. This means that he has direct managerial responsibility, oversight and operational control over the Bermuda Police Service. Therefore, His Excellency also has overall control of the Commissioner of Police.

“The appointment of the Commissioner of Police is the sole responsibility of the Governor and there is no requirement or obligation to consult the Government.

“I am concerned that the Police Commissioner did not come from the rank and file of the Bermuda Police Service. Based on the lack of a suitably qualified Bermudian, we must challenge the Governor’s oversight and management of the leadership of the BPS and this sentiment is not directed at the current Governor. There were also obviously failings by the current Commissioner and his Human Resources Manager, in the areas of leadership, talent management and succession planning.

“It must be noted that under the previous Government, during the period from 2012 until 2017, the Bermuda Police Service, like most other government departments, endured a season of significantly reduced resources and budget cuts. As with most Government departments, the first budget line that was sliced was training, which included overseas attachments and training. Because of the decrease in the budget, staffing levels were also reduced.

“During the period from 2012 to 2017, the staffing level in the BPS fell from 460 to now 400. This is a 13 percent reduction, a significant decline, in an organization charged with keeping Bermuda safe for both residents and visitors.

“You cannot expect stellar performance and development, without investment and training.

“Every Government entity should have a succession plan where young Bermudians see real examples that prove that they can come into these organisations as apprentices or trainees, and over time grow and develop so well that one day they can hold the top job. Anything else is a failure!

“We believe that the Governor must make it a clear priority for the new Commissioner to identify, highlight, train and develop high fliers in the BPS and implement a comprehensive career development plan to ensure that at the end of his 5 year contract, in the summer of 2023; a Bermudian is ready to lead the BPS.

“The Bermuda Police Service is at a critical stage and an intervention is needed. 68% of the officers at the rank of inspector or above will reach the mandatory retirement age in the next 4 years, meaning by 2022.

“This is not the first time that a non-Bermudian has been appointed to this role. However, the appointment of a non-Bermudian Commissioner was not an issue for 14 years, following the appointment of Commissioner Frederick Bean in 1981. This matter sparked to life in late 1994 when COP Lennett Edwards announced his retirement and Mr. Colin Coxall [Thames Valley Police/City of London Police] was appointed as Commissioner in 1995. Between 1995 and late 2000 we had two non-Bermudian Police Commissioners. Since then, we’ve had 18 uninterrupted years of Bermudian Commissioners – Jonathan Smith, George Jackson and Michael Desilva.

“Any appointment of a non-Bermudian Commissioner is bound to be contentious. Some will support it; some will not. The fact is that as long as the appointment is vested solely with the Governor, per Section 87 of our Constitution, there is little influence anyone or any other statutory body can inject. The appointment is solely, I repeat solely, at the Governor’s discretion.

“Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Commissioner of Police, Mr. Michael Desilva, for his 33 years of service to the people of Bermuda. We wish him Godspeed, good health and happiness as he enters the next chapter of his life.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday May 30th, 2018, in accordance with Section 87 of the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968, which grants the Governor responsibility for any business of the Bermuda Police Service; His Excellency the Governor John Rankin announced that he has appointed Chief Superintendent Stephen Corbishley, to succeed Mr. Michael DeSilva as Bermuda’s next Commissioner of Police.

Mr. Speaker, the Governor is responsible for operational policing. This means that he has direct managerial responsibility, oversight and operational control over the Bermuda Police Service. Therefore, His Excellency also has overall control of the Commissioner of Police.

Mr. Speaker, the appointment of the Commissioner of Police is the sole responsibility of the Governor and there is no requirement or obligation to consult the Government.

Mr. Speaker, this appointment was made following an open recruitment process in line with international best practice for selecting Chief Officers. There were 6 candidates. Of the 3 who were Bermudian, 1 was a Superintendent and 2 were Assistant Commissioners. There was a panel of 5 interviewers. The Governor granted my request to select 2 of the 5 people on the interview panel.

Mr. Speaker, to be clear, I am concerned that the Police Commissioner did not come from the rank and file of the Bermuda Police Service. Based on the lack of a suitably qualified Bermudian, we must challenge the Governor’s oversight and management of the leadership of the BPS and this sentiment is not directed at the current Governor. There were also obviously failings by the current Commissioner and his Human Resources Manager, in the areas of leadership, talent management and succession planning.

Mr. Speaker, it must be noted that under the previous Government, during the period from 2012 until 2017, the Bermuda Police Service, like most other government departments, endured a season of significantly reduced resources and budget cuts. As with most Government departments, the first budget line that was sliced was training, which included overseas attachments and training. Because of the decrease in the budget, staffing levels were also reduced.

Mr. Speaker, during the period from 2012 to 2017, the staffing level in the BPS fell from 460 to now 400. This is a 13 percent reduction, a significant decline, in an organization charged with keeping Bermuda safe for both residents and visitors.

Mr. Speaker, you cannot expect stellar performance and development, without investment and training.

Mr. Speaker, I read the comments of the Shadow Minister for National Security with interest and noted their almost concurrent release with the Governor’s announcement. The distinction between this Government and the One Bermuda Alliance is that we are determined to build capacity among our people. We cannot simply leave succession planning to chance. Our institutions require a deliberate approach and constructive ministerial leadership, to ensure that Bermudians are always equipped to assume these senior roles.

Mr. Speaker, every Government entity should have a succession plan where young Bermudians see real examples that prove that they can come into these organisations as apprentices or trainees, and over time grow and develop so well that one day they can hold the top job. Anything else is a failure!

Mr. Speaker, we believe that the Governor must make it a clear priority for the new Commissioner to identify, highlight, train and develop high fliers in the BPS and implement a comprehensive career development plan to ensure that at the end of his 5 year contract, in the summer of 2023; a Bermudian is ready to lead the BPS.

Mr. Speaker, the Bermuda Police Service is at a critical stage and an intervention is needed. 68% of the officers at the rank of inspector or above will reach the mandatory retirement age in the next 4 years, meaning by 2022.

Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time that a non-Bermudian has been appointed to this role. However, the appointment of a non-Bermudian Commissioner was not an issue for 14 years, following the appointment of Commissioner Frederick Bean in 1981. This matter sparked to life in late 1994 when COP Lennett Edwards announced his retirement and Mr. Colin Coxall [Thames Valley Police/City of London Police] was appointed as Commissioner in 1995. Between 1995 and late 2000 we had two non-Bermudian Police Commissioners. Since then, we’ve had 18 uninterrupted years of Bermudian Commissioners – Jonathan Smith, George Jackson and Michael Desilva.

Mr. Speaker, any appointment of a non-Bermudian Commissioner is bound to be contentious. Some will support it; some will not. The fact is that as long as the appointment is vested solely with the Governor, per Section 87 of our Constitution, there is little influence anyone or any other statutory body can inject. The appointment is solely, I repeat solely, at the Governor’s discretion.

Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Commissioner of Police, Mr. Michael Desilva, for his 33 years of service to the people of Bermuda. We wish him Godspeed, good health and happiness as he enters the next chapter of his life.

Mr. Speaker, the BPS must now move forward and I will now highlight some of the exciting and encouraging plans that are already in place to help the new Commissioner achieve the goal of preparing and appointing a Bermudian Commissioner of Police by 2023.

Mr. Speaker, we are changing the paradigm of the BPS. There is a gap between operational and strategic planning. Many of the senior officers have not been given the opportunity to develop in the area of strategic leadership. Bermudians must be given the exposure to these disciplines so that in 5 years, they are ready to lead. This will must be accomplished by a combination of overseas attachments, training, courses and they must act in senior command positions, including strategic roles.

Mr. Speaker, the BPS has 5 police cadets who graduated from the Bermuda College and will be joined by 7 more recruits in September 2018. This will give the BPS a cadre of 12 police cadets who can start to develop into the next wave of constables, introducing new blood into the service.

Mr. Speaker, the BPS will also boost its ranks by taking on 25 new recruits in April 2019. The BPS will also soon introduce, for the first time, a number of Specialist Civilian Posts, in areas such as Crime Scene Investigators [CSI], Intelligence Officers and Financial Investigators. We will conduct a specialist police recruit course, where professionals in specific disciplines will be recruited for their areas of specialty.

Mr. Speaker, whilst the announcement of a new Commissioner is important; introducing a training, leadership and succession plan for high fliers in the BPS sets a clear expectation for the Governor; it gives the new Commissioner a clear mandate; and it sends a message to all officers from Police Cadet all the way up the ranks; that they can come into this organization, be well trained and one day hold the top job. Anything else is a failure.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (15)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “It must be noted that under the previous Government, during the period from 2012 until 2017, the Bermuda Police Service, like most other government departments, endured a season of significantly reduced resources and budget cuts. As with most Government departments, the first budget line that was sliced was training, which included overseas attachments and training. Because of the decrease in the budget, staffing levels were also reduced.”

    It must also be noted that during that same time frame Bermuda had to borrow to even meet the interest payments on the debt incurred during the period 2000 through 2012. If we do not have the money to even pay interest on our debt we are in serious trouble!

  2. Mother Theresa says:

    Caines, you do realize that the budget cuts to the BPS were a result of the PLP’s gross mismanagement of the public purse don’t you? And as far succession planning ………that’s laughable!! There is no succession planning!!! Posts go to friends, the Godchild of a director or her huband’s, the person that goes to the right church, or to return a favor. It’s CRAZY, outright INSANITY! And we wonder why we have so many social issues???? Give me a break!!!!

  3. WSP says:

    Well minister if you stick to your ministerial obligations and stop fantasizing about bitcoin we might get a Bermudian Police chief someday

  4. And you see why National pride has always been an all time low. Must be de only country were top positons are too advanced for locals.

  5. puzzled says:

    Duane and Wayne.
    Police and National Security.
    Bawahaaaa

  6. Mr. Speaker says:

    Please sit down and get on with more important business like education and transportation and please explain bitcoin to me again.

    • Paul says:

      I agree ,lets get on with the important issues facing us,if I hear Rolf Commisiong moan again in the house about his time at M.S.A. and some names he was called a long time ago…. enough Rolf, remember what you did and said in you past !!!get over it bye.

  7. puzzled says:

    Once again.
    Caines talk no sain

  8. Stevie says:

    Caines. You are clueless

  9. Justin says:

    Just think of all the training that money could have been spent on hadn’t it been for the cost overruns of Port Royal, Berkley, TCD, $800m, Cruise Ship Terminal, etc… Now you want to play politics and blame it on the OBA.

    Spin spin spin!!!!

  10. Kevin says:

    Really Mr Caines you basically shunned the BPS no more than 16 months ago when it was under a local chief , but today you want the next chief to be Bermudian , sending some mixed messages but that’s what the plp do best. Lets get real and face facts we are better served by individuals from other juristrictions who will not bow to political pressure but will uphold the LAW and not be persuaded by … politicians
    Thank you Governor Rankin for

    Putting Bermuda’s best interest First

  11. Mark says:

    Wait, no racist nonsense? Shocking

  12. Aware says:

    Well done to the Governor for appointing the most qualified person. I agree with Min Caines sentiments on pathways to the top for Bermudians, but considering this is the first non Bermudian for a long spell, too much is being made of this. We need the right Commissioner for the needs of the island.

  13. Y-Gurl says:

    With all the other failings of the BPS over the last decade why would we expect the transfer to be properly and thoughtfully done, but for Caine’s to use this as a soapbox is disgraceful and goes completely against his views when he was trying to hold a job in the private sector before being put back in a civil service position

Leave a Reply