Lemay: Time to return to grass roots policing

 The Royal Gazette Ltd July 26, 2000

speaking at a lunch held by Hamilton Rotary Club Police Commissioner Jean-Jacques Lemay said it was time for Bermuda to revert to grass roots policing.

  • reintroduce community officers
    promote greater Police involvement with the public - the establishment of consultative committees to assist the Police Service
  • greater use of technology,
    putting officers back on the beat and
    ensuring officers worked efficiently.

"We are also looking inwards to improve ourselves through introducing new methods of measuring work performance through new appraisal systems, and we are revising our promotion systems at the same time in order to select and reward those most able to supervise and manage in the new way of doing business in the Bermuda Police Service."

"I do believe Bermuda can be a role model for other Police jurisdictions in the Carribean, the UK, Canada and the USA."

"This was an in-depth internal audit of all of the operational and business practices of the service. The core functions exercise took a while, and it revealed some things about policing in Bermuda that we liked, such as the fact that we were not doing badly in catching certain kinds of criminals.

"In the future, what our customers want is freedom from crime, and more importantly, freedom from their fear of crime.

Mr. Lemay revealed yesterday that he was waiting for experienced officers to join the service as Bermudian constables on the beat had only four years' experience on average.  He hoped that in August officers from the UK would arrive to swell the ranks of officers that recently arrived from St. Lucia and the Caribbean.

Mr. Lemay had been to the UK to conduct interviews of prospective officers but added they may be forced to recruit from Canada due to the difficulty of UK officers getting time off.


'Not doing badly'?  Since when is that the basis to predict building a 'role model'.  If the best you can do (or an aspect you 'liked') was the ability to 'not do badly' then, I'm sorry, but you are starting from the bottom.  And not doing badly at what ... oh, catching some kinds of criminals.  

And there's that word ... 'customers', the public (or is the people you 'catch') are no longer just the population we police; they are 'customers.  I thought we'd lost that word in the 90's when it came to describing the police 'force' (oops, sorry 'service').  What's it like to be customer, patron, regular, client, purchaser ...?

There are some phrases that come to mind ... 'the customer is always right' (I don't think so in the circumstances), ''customers can vote with their feet' (really ?)

'Customer' is a sign, an indication of the contempt with which you are treated and considered.  No one is suggesting you are being stereo-typed, compartmentalised, but you are not 'customers'.  An appropriate parallel would be that you are purchasers forced to obtain a specific service; the police service is a monopoly.  I'm not criticising Bermuda specifically, but I am saddened that you too are the subject of political platitudes.  You want to be a role model - start by breaking free of the product you are being spoon fed.  Think laterally and logically.  Apply imagination and enthusiasm.

Here's another parallel: if you are customers where's the competition?  Where's you right to choice.  How do you express your freedom of choice?  How do supply and demand relate to the 'product' our are provided?

In the USA the government are breaking up Microsoft because, whilst supplying its customers a service, this is not in the public interest - so say the government.  

You are not 'customers', you are 'cattle'.  I'm not suggesting you invoke the rights of customers, I saying you should not be labeled as such.

I'm not suggesting rebellion and anarchy, I'm advocating thought.  You could be a role model, but not if you accept everything that is pout in front of you and swallow it like good children.

And time to 'revert to grass roots'?  Who woke Mr Lemay up, where's he been for the past year:

Just what occurred in October 1999?
Bermuda, you are being fobbed off, here was last year's outpour from the Commissioner

what short memories you have!

Police plan sweeping changes

The Royal Gazette Ltd Bermuda, July 16, 1999

Sweeping changes in the way the Bermuda Police Service "does business" are expected now that the core functions review has been completed.  Minister for Public Safety Paula Cox and Police Commissioner Jean-Jacques Lemay outlined the results of the review at a Press conference at Police Headquarters yesterday afternoon. Ms. Cox said that the results of the review would form the basis for future decisions about the Police Service. As a result, a plan of action through December 2000 has been created by the Commissioner which constitutes a "total re-engineering" of the Police Service.

  • A Police Strategy for the Community will be developed in October, 1999 with the objective of firmly involving the community in policing and crime management.

  • The Service will also create a crime management strategy which will lead to crime prevention initiatives and ultimately a realignment of CID functions.

  • Finally, in December, 2000, Performance Indicators and an Assessment Process will be instituted to review the performance of the Service as an organisation and to ensure accountability.

The Service is currently working to change the most basic aspects of its hierarchy by encouraging the newest recruits to participate in the decision-making process.

Even after 2000, he said, the Police Service would continue to adapt and change as required.

Commissioner Lemay stressed that the overall objective was to create a Police Service


No Mr Lemay, the service MAY start to adapt and change.  Clearly it did not and has not.  But, you have created a police service, well done.  Sadly, anyone can create a 'service'.  Now you need to create a GOOD service, actually, you need to create a service that does a little better than 'not badly'.

Excuse me for not laughing at the ludicrousness of the commissioner and the situation created; it really is very sad.  But then, how much longer will he remaining and Bermuda be left to mop up after him.

You have have sincere concern.





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