Public address: Commissioner DeSilva at the podium. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Public address: Commissioner DeSilva at the podium. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1: Bermuda will be covered from end to end by hi-tech CCTV crime-busting cameras within months, Deputy Police Commissioner Michael Jackman promised last night.

He said: “We expect that, within the next six months, to be able to cover from Dockyard to St George’s.”

Mr Jackman added that other hi-tech security and surveillance methods would also be deployed across the island in a bid to smash gang structures and cut crime.

He said: “I’d prefer not to talk about some of the technology we are using, but we are certainly getting to the cutting edge.”

Mr Jackman added that he had seen the latest crime-fighting technology on show in the US and was “waiting patiently” for funds to be made available to bring it to Bermuda.

Mr Jackman said cameras had already been installed in known gang hotspots like parts of Somerset and the St Monica’s area.

But he added that new wireless technology would make buying and installing cameras cheaper – allowing for wider coverage of the island.

Mr Jackman was speaking at a town hall meeting hosted by Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva at the St Paul AME church hall on Court Street.

Nearly 200 people heard Mr DeSilva outline the service’s strategy for tackling guns, gangs, drugs and violence – the four top priorities since he took over the Commissioner’s job three years ago.

Mr DeSilva said:“Collectively, they pose the greatest threat to Bermuda.”

He added that, the anti-gang and gun crime strategy had three main strands, including education and diversion of young men away from gangs, helping existing gang members out of the lifestyle, as well as traditional enforcement techniques.

Mr DeSilva said: “We believe in rehabilitation and resettlement. We believe there are people who genuinely want a different life.”

Mr DeSilva said 23 people had been shot dead in the last four years – more gun murder than in the previous 30 years, while there had been 61 other shooting incidents.

He said the service murder squad had been increased from six officers in 2008 to as many as 32 today.

Mr DeSilva said 90 to 100 people were now locked up or had left the country as gun violence increased.

But he warned; “One hundred people might be out of the equation whether by choice or not and 100 more have come right behind them.”

He added that there had also been 32 convictions for murder, attempted murder and firearms offences, while 27 more people were awaiting trial charged with serious crimes.

But he said that police alone could not impact on serious crime and that the elimination of the gang warfare that has blighted the island needed a community effort.

Mr DeSIlva added: “We think the answer lies in this room, in this community – that’s not to say there aren’t lessons to be learned from other jurisdictions because gang warfare is not owned by Bermuda.”