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Appearing in the Mid Ocean News (Bermuda):

Swift extends olive branch on corruption site

By Rebecca Zuill Bermuda, July 15, 2000

FORMER narcotics squad officer Philip Swift has offered to return hundreds of confidential police documents to the Bermuda Police Service and give up a web site alleging incompetence and corruption at Prospect in return for financial compensation for unfair dismissal.

As reported in the Mid-Ocean News last month, Mr. Swift has posted hundreds of pages of confidential police information on his Internet site, Bermuda Narco 88, revealing names and addresses of suspected criminals and important details about investigations into Bermuda drug-importation rings.

This week UK-based Mr. Swift told the Mid-Ocean News: "I have no desire to live the battle for the rest of my life but that is what it will take, so be it.

"I felt genuinely aggrieved and feel my case is logical and can be supported," he said.

He continued: "I would rather the Bermuda Police Service accept that their methods in dismissing me - constructively - were wrong and make appropriate compensation.

"I am looking for a gesture of goodwill and will return the same: I will give up the domain name (of the Internet site, www.bermuda.org) for Bermuda's use - perhaps for tourism promotion in the United Kingdom? - and return every file I possess. We will part in peace.'

The cocaine-importation Miranda case in 1990 was the biggest Mr. Swift was involved in. He has posted documents and transcriptions of taped interviews made during that investigation onto the Internet.

He activated the Internet site when he returned to the United Kingdom in 1990, after he was told that his contract would not be renewed. Mr. Swift has argued he was not retained by the Police Service because he worked too hard and met with too much success.

He said: "Part of my problem is that I do take things personally, the challenge is immense and I put a lot of effort into everything I do. I am not a perfectionist, but I am exhaustive. I fall over things - I find myself in the right place at the right time and seem to have instinctive reactions as to what is right or when determining what course of action to follow."

He said he became well known in areas of the island known for drugs, where he was called "The Great White Hunter" and "Robocop".

"I was accused of sneaking out one morning and looking for trouble. Excuse me, but I thought that was my job - to look for trouble. The truth of the matter was that I was thoroughly annoyed by officers on the night shift sleeping between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. that I simply walked out of the station when everyone else was dozing."

He also believes it was his role in defending fellow police officers facing disciplinary matters that led to his downfall.

"This was, in hindsight, an error," he said. "The problem with disciplinary matters is that you are faced with the word of a complainant, almost certainly a high-ranking officer.

"The investigating officers will be a more senior officer as will the prosecutor, possibly the witness and certainly the presiding officer."

Nonetheless, Mr. Swift reported: "I represented officers in four cases. Not one was found `guilty' and in two cases, officers participating in the prosecutions were clearly guilty of disciplinary offences."

On leaving the service, his reference described him as "satisfactory" rather than "exemplary" which meant his career as a police officer was finished when he returned to the UK, he explained.

A Bermuda Police spokesman yesterday took a wait-and-see approach to Mr. Swift's offer to extend the olive branch: "If Mr. Swift has further information to add, we await to hear from him. Anything that can help further substantiate his claims, we would certainly welcome it, and the invitation remains open for him to contact us."

 

Appearing in the Mid Ocean News (Bermuda) which can be found at http://www.accessbda.bm/gazette.htm :  

'I want to clear my name,' says ex-cop

By Rebecca Zuill    Bermuda, July 7, 2000

FORMER Bermuda Police Service's Narcotics Squad detective Philip Swift yesterday said one of the chief reasons he now maintains a controversial website on the force is to address allegations made against him when he was told his contract would not be renewed.

Mr. Swift runs a UK-based website called Bermuda Narco 88. Last month the Mid-Ocean News revealed he has posted hundreds of pages of confidential Police memorandums to the website chronicling his investigations on the island. Since then, reports Mr. Swift, hits at the site have increased tenfold.

The former narcotics officer - who left the Bermuda Police in 1990 - pointed to a career which involved breaking a major international drug ring and a constant stream of arrests on drugs charges.

Mr. Swift explained he was well known in Bermuda communities where there was drug activity and made so many arrests he became known as "Robocop" and the "Great White Hunter".

As Mr. Swift approaches the tenth anniversary of the interview with the then Commissioner which effectively ended his career as a police officer, the accusations raised against him still rankle.

His enthusiasm for the job, he now believes, was his big mistake.

In the end, Mr. Swift was told his contract would not be renewed because he had attempted to tape record a senior officer and bucked authority. He claimed no attempt was ever made to substantiate the accusation that he had taped a senior officer, although he did admit from time to time he did "buck authority."

In fact, he said one of his superior officers told him: "You're a loose cannon, but I use loose cannons!"

"I resigned. I was told my contract would not be renewed. My career was history. I left in December, 1990 with three and a half months of accumulated leave, so in the end I worked out my full contract."

He said he did bring legal action in respect to his departure. "I made an error with my approach," he said. "My approach was unfair dismissal. It should have been constructive dismissal, so I didn't get the option to pursue the matter, but pursuing it through the website was easy!"

"I suffered a substantial loss," he said. "I had an application in to join the Kent Police Force in the UK after leaving Bermuda." But he said because his job assessment on his departure read "satisfactory" and not "exemplary", so his career as a Police officer was finished. "I had lost my job, and I had no job to go to, and they had taken away something that was very dear to me."

He added: "I want people to know I'm straight." Mr. Swift was also keen to address allegations that after his departure from the Bermuda Police Service he "sold" information to criminal defendants.

He said he had not sold information, but he had been willing to sell his services, and in the end he did not take money for anything. "I would do it today of someone had a problem and wanted it looked at," he said.

In one incident a Bermudian man accused of importing $6,000 of cannabis, asked for his help. When the matter of payment came up, the accused's lawyer said they could afford to pay $6,000. Mr. Swift said he would provide sufficient information so his client would be found not guilty and could also lodge a complaint against the police - and would charge $100,000 at a rate of $10,000 for ten hours' work.

"It was a bit naughty," he conceded.

"I said `no' to the $6,000 because it would be insufficient to provide me with the comfort I needed," he said, explaining he felt he needed to be able to pay costs that might arise from any legal action that might be taken out against him as a result.

The second case involved discussions with a Bermudian lawyer in a London's solicitor's office about the information Mr. Swift could provide. He offered his services for the same fee. In the end, the accused man and his lawyer did not use Mr. Swift's services. The man was released on appeal.

Despite some feelings of bitterness, he said Bermudians are "great people," and those he had arrested seemed to bear no ill will. After a career on the London Metropolitan Police Force, where he had been knocked unconscious three times in 18 months, he appreciated this aspect of the job. "There was great mutual respect," he said.

Today he is the director is a company which deals with insurance investigations. "When I joined them in 1991, they dealt with 15 claims a month. By 1993 they were dealing with 300, and I was made an associate director, and by 1994, I was made a director and we were handling 1,200 claims. 

Ex-cop alleges high-level drugs corruption

By Rebecca Zuill    Bermuda, June 17, 2000

RENEGADE former policeman Phil Swift has now posted hundreds of pages of what he claims are sensitive Bermuda Police Service records, correspondence between officers and transcripts of telephone conversations with US law enforcement officials to an Internet website, saying they point to high-level involvement in the island's drug trade.

Briton Mr. Swift - who was a narcotics officer in Bermuda between 1988 and 1991 - said during his time here the island was "awash with cocaine" and he was disturbed by the lack of official determination to deal with the problem.

He explains on his massive Bermuda Narco 88 website: "Knowing my time (in Bermuda) was short, I collected and collated hundreds of documents, pocket books, diagrams and tape recordings. This `evidence' was posted, over a period of months, back to the UK and now appears on this site."

Updated and extensively expanded last month, the website containing his sensational allegations is accessible to any Internet user.

For legal reasons, the Mid-Ocean News cannot repeat allegations made against individuals or organisations named on the website. But Mr. Swift says: "Almost the entire content of the site has been reproduced from official documents."

In particular, he reproduces his diary and pocket-book entries. He writes: "You are about to witness actual events. Names, places, incidents may all be known to you ..." he writes.

"To my knowledge, no one has ever displayed such information. However, it is a fact, recorded at the time of the incidents and may have been given in evidence."

Mr. Swift's web site focuses primarily on the 1990-1991 Miranda investigation and trial, which he describes as "probably the largest cocaine-related enquiry the island has ever seen".

The police officer describes himself as having been involved in every major seizure during 1991, and in particular, the Miranda inquiry. He returned to Bermuda later in 1991 to give evidence at the trial.

Mr. Swift, who claims his success in the narcotics division and particularly in the Miranda investigation - where he reports uncovering high-level corruption - led to his dismissal from the Bermuda Police Service.

The former cop returned to England and is now maintaining his website reporting on a Police Service he describes as "a shambles, a political environment in which members protect their own interests, not those of the community".

He states: "Bermuda - it is your service and it is failing you. I receive e-mails from Bermudians, serving and former police officers all of whom have similar concerns:

"Why, on such a small island can narcotics be so freely available, (and) why cannot the Police Service make a difference?

"The answer, it appears, is that it is not in everyone's interest to do so! There is simply too much money (cash) to be had in this tax-free (unaccountable) environment."

Now, he is "urging caution in dealing with some of the local officers" to British recruits hired during the recent Bermuda Police Service recruitment campaign.

In his most recent update of the site, he reports new recruits are e-mailing him about working in Bermuda. For those individuals, he describes Bermuda as a "beautiful island" whose inhabitants are "in the main, exceedingly friendly, open and honest".

He also states on his website the island is:

The most expensive place in the world to buy cocaine (good profits for suppliers).

Has the highest number of police officers per head of population in the world.

Has one of the highest incidence of Aids per head of population in the world.

A Government spokesperson yesterday said: "The Ministry of Labour & Home Affairs is not prepared to comment on a site that has been up so long. Its content is so historic that it has no relevance today.

"It's not new and the police hierarchy have known about it for a long time. It predates all the current administration."

Police spokesman Evelyn James-Barnett said yesterday the matter was addressed by police some 18 months ago when the website was first launched in an article published in The Royal Gazette.

"At that time we noted our acquaintance with ex-police officer Swift and his extreme dissatisfaction and aggravation with the Bermuda Police Service as it operated over ten years ago."

"Mr. Swift continues to make these allegations of police and judicial improprieties, as he does just about every year, more recently through a website.

"We would again point out that these allegations are not new and have been leveled before, and we again invite Mr. Swift to provide substantive evidence that would validate his claims of impropriety and misconduct. He has declined to do so each year.

"While the Bermuda Police Service will treat as serious any and all such allegations of corruption, the very nature of our work demands that a full investigation be conducted, based on more than disgruntlement, bitterness and disappointment.

"At the time of Mr. Swift's initial complaint an inquiry was launched and remains open to this day, subject to new information or evidence coming to light which we again invite Mr. Swift to produce.

"Failing that, we decline further comment on the matter."

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