* Photo by James Whittaker. On the front line: Sgt. John Clutterbuck of the Police Support Unit.
* Photo by James Whittaker. On the front line: Sgt. John Clutterbuck of the Police Support Unit.
Anti-gang patrols are being intensified in anticipation of further gun violence this weekend.

Officers will be out in force in the Pembroke neighbourhoods of the 42 and Parkside gangs amid fears of retaliatory attacks following the murder of Kumi Harford.

The Police Support Unit will also be keeping a close watch on Saturday's funeral and wake for Mr. Harford, who was shot and killed as he drove along St. Monica's Road last weekend.

Mr. Harford, who would have celebrated his 31st birthday today, was known by police to associate with the 42 gang.

"We need to be as visible and as proactive as possible. We need to detect and disrupt gang activity and we can only do that if we are out and about in those neighbourhoods," said Sergeant John Clutterbuck, whose PSU unit is on the frontline of Bermuda's gang war.

"Our first role is preventative because there is quite clearly a fear of retaliation as a result of recent incidents but there are people in those areas, that are at times armed, and we need to catch them."

Senior officers are expected to renew enhanced 'stop and search' powers, sanctioned under 315F of the Criminal Code, if there is evidence of an increased threat of violence.

Sgt. Clutterbuck said: "This weekend there is obviously the funeral and the wake to consider as well as various parties, functions and football matches that these people frequent.

"We need a highly visible police presence to reassure the public and to deal effectively with anything that might occur."

NO GUARANTEES

Dog teams will also be deployed and female officers are being used to search women amid concerns that gangsters are using their girlfriends to carry weapons for them.

Superintendent Antoine Daniels, head of the serious crime unit, admitted that in the current climate there could be 'no guarantees' that the shootings would cease.

But he said his officers were "working round the clock" to keep things under control.

He said they were preparing for the prospect, not only of revenge attacks against Parkside members, but of shootings from either side.

Officers believe the targets of the shootings are, for the moment, confined to gang members and their associates.

Sgt. Clutterbuck said it was critical to disrupt their activity - targeting known hang-outs and drug corners to prevent them from going about their business.

Though his unit is the most visible face of the fight against gangs, is is not acting alone.

The PSU receives a detailed intelligence briefing, collated from a mix of street sources, beat officers' reports and tips from the public, which informs how and where its resources are deployed.

Detailed profiles of known gang members, many of whom blatantly flaunt their allegiances with tattoos and even caps and T-shirts, also fuel the intelligence briefing.

But it is rare for major players to be seen with weapons and the community grapevine often undermines the police's work by tipping off gangsters when police are in the area.

An anti-gang unit is also being tasked with providing information on the key players as the Bermuda Police Service adapts its structure to cope with the increasing threat posed by gangs.

Police estimate there are now as many as 18 gangs in Bermuda, with up to 350 people associated with them. They vary in their organizational structure from loose connections of neighbourhood associates, to more structured groups like 42 and Parkside.