FRIDAY, MARCH 2: Police need to update and improve their Information Technology systems, according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
Assistant Inspector Vic Towell’s 22-page report suggests the Bermuda Police Service should appoint a ‘dedicated gang officer’ to deal with the day-to-day fight against violence.
And he recommends that Community Support Officers should be introduced in Bermuda as a cheaper neighbourhood resource.
In the report Mr Towell praises much of the work within the force and describes it as an ‘effective and efficient’ organization.
But the strategic and annual plans are described as ‘out of date’.
And Mr Towell says that delays in announcing the forces’ budget create challenges to long term financial planning.
HMIC makes seven key recommendations that include developing a three-year Strategic Plan.
And it states that the force’s IT systems ‘lacked functionality and did not operate efficiently’.
The report added: “Understanding gangs sufficiently in order to disrupt and dismantle them is best achieved through a continuous supply of information and intelligence from Force resources, partners and communities.
“There is no force intranet and record management systems lack functionality.
“Technical improvements are in progress and additional resources have been secured, but the expectation upon officers to gather and submit intelligence could be made reinforced and communities encouraged to come forward with intelligence.
“This will only be achieved if there is greater confidence in the security of information, and accountable tasking.”
The report was commissioned by Governor Sir Richard Gozney and Commissioner Michael DeSilva.
The Assistant Inspector of Constabulary visited the island twice last year and had access to documents and performance data. More than 100 interviews with officers and staff also took place.
Mr Towell said the BPS could benefit from expanding its covert intelligence activities.
And he proposed introducing a ‘talent management process’ to fast track the best officers to the top.
He added: “There are numerous separate community groups, but they lack co-ordination.
“The BPS may wish to consider the introduction of Community Support Officers (CSOs) as an additional, and cheaper, neighbourhood-based resource.
“Challenges exist to longer term planning within the BPS due to the absence of strict funding settlement deadlines and medium-term agreements.
“The introduction of a more rigid annual planning cycle, well in advance of each financial year, and a three year funding envelope would assist in more prudent planning and delivery of value for money principles.”
Commissioner DeSilva said the HMIC report was a good one for the BPS.
He added: “It suggests that the direction we’ve been heading in the last three years in tackling guns and gangs has made a difference.
“The report, in simple terms, is a gap analysis between where we are and where we need to be.
“The recommendations are the steps we should consider taking in order to get there.
“Our next step is to digest the report in full to determine which suggestions will yield the greatest value to the Service and the public, and then set our priorities from there.”