Community efforts to negotiate peace deals between rival gangs, should not expect financial support from Government.

Home Affairs Minister Lt. Col. David Burch said the Ministry supported all agencies who sought solutions to the gang problem.

But he questioned whether Government should lead or finance gang intervention and mediation.

“We partner with every social agency to support their efforts in doing something other than talk.

“It is peculiar to me that everything costs money and the Government is expected to pay for it. If people are concerned and want to help, then help.”

Pastor Leroy Bean, of anti-gang group CARTEL, suggested last week that his organization could put a dent in the gang problem — with Government’s help.

He said his voluntary organization, which employs social workers as well as former gang members, was already working to reduce gang violence through mediation.

But he insisted: “Without proper funding we are just playing a game.”

Assistant Commissioner David Mirfield told the Bermuda Sun last week that similar community led intervention and mediation methods had been successful at his old force in Birmingham.

He said police could not be directly involved, arguing that respected community figures were better placed to negotiate between rival gangs.

“Mediation between the gangs is the way forward. I don’t think people want to pick up guns and shoot people. They do it to defend themselves and defend their areas. Sitting down, talking and finding resolutions is not a soft option, it is a sensible one.”

Colonel Burch said he was not aware of the Assistant Commissioner’s remarks but he said he would reach out to him to discuss the issue.

He said any proposal to help reduce gang violence or broker peace would be considered.

But he questioned the need for a new Government agency.

“We already have employees of Government that do that kind of thing. Why would we set up another entity to do that?”