WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13: A specially trained task force set up to take the heat out of gang confrontation is set to hit the sidewalks as early as next month, the Bermuda Sun can reveal.
National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief said training by gang experts drafted in from the Boston Street Safe programme in the US is expected to be complete within weeks, with the first graduates out on the streets in July.
He added: “We will be using some of the methods used in Boston, but we will be utilizing Bermudians who are already experienced in working with troubled youth.
“They will not be identified. We want to bring in Boston Street Safe protocols, although the programme will be ‘onionised’ for Bermuda purposes.
“We are anxious to see the community and other groups pick up the baton and push it away from us so there is a comfort level with those who are involved in gang culture that the Government is not involved and not interfering.
“It’s critical work and there’s a lot of confidentiality and trust required. Trust is the key element. If an individual is perceived as being in this for publicity or to up their profile, that has the potential to make the people they will be working with suspicious.”
Mr Perinchief added: “There is a certain level of intervention going on now, at a different level and being supported by other people and organisations.
“I also want to emphasize the arms-length relationship this has with the Ministry — that will continue.
“We put some Government money towards start-up costs, with support from corporate groups, acting in a public/private partnership style arrangement.”
And he said the police would “definitely” not be involved in the Bermuda version of the successful Boston intervention scheme.