* Photo by Simon Jones. Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva, right, outlines new tactics to deal with escalating gang violence.
* Photo by Simon Jones. Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva, right, outlines new tactics to deal with escalating gang violence.
WEDNESDAY, APR. 14: More than a dozen firearms officers from the U.K. will be brought to Bermuda next month to help tackle rising gang violence.

The Serious Crime Unit will also be bolstered by 14 new analysts and officers from Britain to help investigators handle their caseload of 14 unsolved murders.

These were just two of the measures outlined by Commissioner Michael DeSilva at a press conference today.

Mr. DeSilva also revealed a new Assistant Commissioner of Police would be appointed from three British candidates who would be arriving in Bermuda soon.

The Commissioner, who has visited the U.K. and the U.S. in the last few weeks, said Bermudian officers would be sent abroad to train with the FBI to gain experience.

He added: "We have been invited to join their information and sharing network to understand the local gang problem better."

Mr. DeSilva said there were also plans for officer attachments with the NYPD although exact details had not been worked out yet.

Press statement by David Burch, Minister of Labour, Home Affairs and Housing

Three years ago when the leadership of this Government first sought overseas assistance - everyone in this country said no. Now we have reached the point where everyone is now saying when are we going to get overseas assistance? So suffice to say we will become a little hard of hearing when the whining starts about actions taken.

One of the earliest steps taken by this Administration in response to the spike in crime was to discuss with His Excellency the Governor and the Bermuda Police Service leadership the question of overseas assistance to augment the capabilities of the Police.

The current Governor agreed that such assistance would be of tremendous benefit, particularly as the level of illegal firearms activity continued to increase. The BPS provided an outline of the areas of support that would be most beneficial; the Government considered and approved all that they sought.

Government has also agreed to support a plan to fill existing vacancies within the service with trained firearms officers. This will augment the number of officers who are so trained, and thereby provide relief for existing firearms officers.

The Commissioner will expand on the specific details of some of that assistance and what actions the BPS is taking to address the current situation.

This support, however, comes at a cost. But it is a cost that we must pay. The additional overseas support, including salaries, temporary office space, accommodations and relocation costs will require approximately one million dollars in additional funding. I anticipate that at the appropriate time there will be universal support should a supplementary be necessary. The cost of the additional fire arms officers is covered in the salary allocations already provided to the BPS.

Government House, this Government and the Bermuda Police Service are united in our approach and our efforts to combat this unprecedented escalation in crime. It is our desire that every Bermudian and resident will return to the sense of peace and prosperity that we have long enjoyed.

Let me also thank those members of the public who have provided the BPS with vital information that has led to the arrest of several culprits and I encourage them to continue to do so.