More than 4,500 people were arrested last year — 1,300 more than in 2008 and the highest number of arrests to be recorded since Police began keeping records.  

 

 Regarding the problems Police have with witnesses the Commissioner said  "Clearly the feedback that we get from the witnesses is fear and intimidation. It's not a specific fear. It's just what witnesses do in Bermuda.  "They're not sure why they're afraid, they're just afraid. I think we need a community culture turn around on that one. We have got to create an environment where it would be strange if you didn't tell the Police. The message must be do it because it's the right thing to do."

What is the Bermuda Police Service was doing to stop the escalating violence?  "We have seen the worst in Bermuda's history when it comes to firearm incidents. In the first 11 days of this year, we have had three confirmed reports and eight unconfirmed.  "What's more alarming is the nature that they have been used.

In terms of fatalities and injuries, in 2008, we reported one injury. In 2009, 13 injuries and four fatalities making 17. That is a massive and scary increase.  "We didn't get here overnight and it won't take overnight to fix it. The tide changed the summer of 2006 with the drive-by shooting of Jason Lightbourne.  December 2007 was the tipping point. Within days of each other, Jakai Harford was involved in an injury shooting and Aquil Richardson was the victim of a fatal shooting at Horseshoe Road, Southampton."

The Commissioner spoke about what the service is currently doing, saying: "We also want to prevent children and young people from getting into gang activity. We want to focus on the key groups of people who are causing crime.  "When we introduced PPOs [prolific priority offender], it means if someone on the list comes to attention of Police then we have a menu of things that we carry out before they are released.

There were 4,500 arrests made by Police in 2009. It's the highest number of arrests since we started recording arrests." There were 3,163 in 2008.

Speaking on the gangs, the Commissioner said: "We know that there are at least 19 gangs in Bermuda. We know the majority are not involved in violence. We know there are 350 members as young as 12 to 40. Most gangs are formed as neighbourhood groups and are not operating as organised criminal enterprises.  There are patrols on "troubled neighbourhoods" and firearms officers are also in the areas to "provide the visibility and the comfort to the people that still have to live in these neighbourhoods".

On the number of guns, he said: "We actually believe the number of guns are far less that urban legend would have us believe.  "There's nothing in our evidence that support the proliferation in the number of guns. They are becoming the weapon of choice. No, we don't have a number and I am not going to guess without having the evidence to back it up. The number is low."