Talking points: (l-r) BDA leader Craig Cannonier, UBP Senator Jeanne Atherden and  PLP Senator Walton Brown (far right), spoke out at a Lunch and Learn for Bermuda’s Emerging Professionals (BEPRO). All three were critical of the way police has handled gang crime. *Photo by Sirrka Huish
Talking points: (l-r) BDA leader Craig Cannonier, UBP Senator Jeanne Atherden and  PLP Senator Walton Brown (far right), spoke out at a Lunch and Learn for Bermuda’s Emerging Professionals (BEPRO). All three were critical of the way police has handled gang crime. *Photo by Sirrka Huish
Bermuda’s police officers are not being aggressive enough to end the island’s tide of violent crime.

This is the view of politicians from all three parties who yesterday hit out at the police service for not tackling serious crime.

They said they wanted to see an independent taskforce made up of non-Bermudians brought in “to get to the root of the problem”.

They hinted that Bermudian police officers might be too close to those involved to take action.

PLP Senator Walton Brown, UBP Senator Jeanne Atherden and BDA leader Craig Cannonier spoke out at a Lunch and Learn for Bermuda’s Emerging Professionals (BEPRO).

The island’s rising levels of crime was the most discussed topic at the event, which was organised by BEPRO.

Senator Brown said there had been “an inability” by the police to deal with the island’s shootings.

He calimed we needed “urgent and meaningful action” as crime was “debilitating the country”.

Senator Brown added: “We’d like to see a more aggressive police force who tackle the criminal element of Bermuda.

“We need to bring in a team with no connection to Bermuda. They will be able to go in and disrupt the activity of those involved.”

Senator Brown, who at one point asked if any members of the press were in the room, added that people should not blame the government as the police were answerable to the Governor.

He said: “We (the PLP and Governor) have a better working relationship now, but we don’t always see eye-to-eye.

Philosophy

“Sometimes the governor and the government have a different philosophy.

“I can’t explain why progress hasn’t been made yet. We take partial responsibility but we are not fully in charge of the police force.”

Mr. Cannonier said the only solution was for a taskforce to “come in overnight without anyone knowing”.

He said: “They could pick up these guys straight away. They would need to be non-Bermudians and only the Governor and Chief of Police would know when they were coming.”

Mr. Cannonier said no one had done anything as the gangs were forming, so crime would get “a whole lot worse” before it got better.

He added: “There are solutions to crime but we are simply not adopting them.

“We keep looking at things in the same old way rather than looking at new opportunities

“We all know the crime stats, we are all ready to put bars on our windows, we can’t continue like this.

“People are going out robbing as they don’t have homes. There are no opportunities for people so they go out and create their own opportunities in the underworld.”

Senator Atherden, the UBP’s newly-appointed Senate Leader, said she was concerned that crime was at “an all time high”.

She said: “We are always catching up. Bermuda likes to import — we’re always importing all the good things and now we’re also importing crime.

“If lessons have been learnt elsewhere in the world, we need to implement them here.”

Senator Atherden called for a full-scale police review and said she would support the introduction of Operation Ceasefire, which has been successfully used as a youth gun violence intervention strategy in the States.

She said: “A formal service review will get to the bottom of everything. We need results.”

BEPRO members asked politicians several questions about crime with one woman accusing all those involved of being “very wussy”.

He said: “We have become very wussy but these gangs are not wussy. It’s one shot and bang, you’re dead.”

The Bermuda Police Service did not respond to our request for comment.