The Islands


The Territory
Olympic Robber
So many Police
So many prisoners
Colin Coxall
Smith appeal
Security companies
Guilty Protected
Drug Court


According to Bermuda's on-line information resource published by the Royal Gazette (Bermuda's national and international daily newspaper since 1828):

"The police service has 438 full time officers in Bermuda's 21 square miles.  At 21 officers per square mile, it has by more than 10 times the highest density anywhere in the world of police officers per square mile".

Within the last two years Government funding has included the increase of Narcotics officers, from 23 to 29 officers to more effectively combat Bermuda's most serious area of crime.


Take a read of the pages linked to this one to receive a 'feel' of what is behind the Island's chocolate-box facade.

I arrived in Bermuda 3rd March 1986.  The day had been manic, I was formerly a Metropolitan Police officer (London, England) and had that morning been giving evidence in Bromley Magistrates Court in relation to car thieves.  It was a mad dash to the airport.

The induction course was relatively straight forward and of the 15 new recruits my course results put me second.

I was posted to Hamilton police station, situated on Parliament Street (just off Front Street).  Hamilton is the Island's capital.  I was assigned to 'B' relief and worked in uniform 'street duties', generally on the 'beat' (on foot patrol), subsequently passing a driving course.

To me it appeared 1986 was when crack cocaine began to emerge on the Island.   There were no-go areas (which surprised me for such a small Island), places such as Court Street (the end away from Front Street), 'Middle Town', not far from Court street and St Monica's Mission ('affectionately' known to the locals as '42nd Street').   These areas had crack houses.

Narcotics were rife on the Island, prices high and the punishment for possession reasonable severe.  In addition to straightforward possession of (suspected) narcotics offences, there was an extremely useful offence of 'possessing drug equipment' (paraphernalia).

It must be remembered, this is an Island, the residents wanted to leave for weekend breaks, holidays.  America was less than 300 miles away, flights were relatively inexpensive and the US provided a means by which to escape the claustrophobia of the Island for a short time.

To the visitor, the Island was a beautiful, tranquil place, why would anyone want to leave.  The answer is that, after a while, there is only so much you can do and there was always more, just beyond the horizon.  It was natural and reasonable people would wish to escape, albeit only for brief periods.

The occupants of Bermuda were often referred to as '65,000 alcoholics clinging to a rock'.  Slowly the 'rock' having the greatest bearing on the occupants was to be cocaine (crack).

From March 1986 to early 1988 I was content to roam the Hamilton area in uniform.   I enjoyed the beaches and the social life but I had a knack; I managed to find trouble.  It was a little more than luck, often it simply meant watching and waiting, but on most occasions (particularly night duty) it was a combination of factors:

  1. being prepared to stop anything that moved
  2. visiting the no-go areas, or their perimeters
  3. being awake (night duty)

Not a lot was expected of an officer.  Issue a few traffic tickets (one of my annual reports actually commended me for the issue of tickets for bald tyres - an offence seldom used / considered !!!  That this would be picked up on is a demonstration of just how little was expected and of the priorities), make the odd arrest and attend calls as and when required was all that anyone asked.  Often the duties meant being stationed at Government House, three men per shift were required to don a firearm and protect the occupants.

By concentrating on the narcotics scene I was able to establish a reputation which was not to everyone's liking, inside and outside the force.  During a night duty, if posted driving, I had an expectation of myself; three arrests from different incidents per night.  This was regularly achieved.

I hasten to add that I was supported by many fellow officers; Bermudan, West Indian and English, many of whom had or adopted a similar practice.

My residence was situated at Prospect, in the police headquarters complex, only 40 yards from the Narcotics office.

After a night duty it was becoming common to see cars parked in the vicinity that belonged to those I had arrested during the preceding shift.  They were waiting to see an officer in the narcotics department for reasons which are explained on the page within this site titled 'informants'.

On 21st April 1988, I wrote to the Commissioner of Police requesting a transfer to the Narcotics department.  I received the following reply:

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I am in receipt of your application dated 21 April, 1988 for a transfer to Narcotics.  As I told you recently this will be considered as soon as the Force manpower situation improves.

I note that you application contained several favourable comments by your Supervisors about your ability and productivity as a Police Officer.  (A copy will be placed on your Personal file).   I would like to congratulate you on your motivation and application as a police officer.

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It was this Officer (Clive Donald), who as Commissioner of Police, was later to dispense with my services and about whom I was to submit a formal complaint.

During the next 6 months my arrest rate did not fall off.  I was eventually called to the Narcotics Detective Chief Inspector's office, Prospect Bermuda.  I was informed that I was to commence duties as a member of the Narcotics street team, this was subject to the following conditions:

I no longer represented police officer's the subject of disciplinary actions

I was to concentrate on arresting 'anything that moved'; Chief Inspector Ramsey wished to be the first officer in charge of the narcotics department to achieve the 1,000 arrest figure for a year.

I commenced work in the department Tuesday 8th November 1998 and on Thursday 10th November 1998, I seized the largest amount of cocaine (with a prisoner) that had been discovered that year.  Whilst only 3 ounces, this was sufficient to see the prisoner receive 6 years imprisonment.  The arrest will be fully documented in the diary pages.

Within a month the OIC Narcotics was endorsing my diary "Good work.  Good diary.  Continue".  It was like handing in homework, so long as there was good content and this was presented in a neat fashion, one could not help but achieve a 'gold star'.

Within a month of joining the department my workload was such that 8 hours was simply not enough to conduct enquiries and complete documentation to such a standard that conviction was inevitable.  So began the curtailing of my overtime, I therefore worked in my own time.  I purchased my own tape recorder (there was no such facility in the office) and eventually a word processor to assist with the workload and ensure my confidential reports did not need to pass through the civilian typist.

The diary will detail my activities with a lull when I became assigned to the Asset Forfeiture Department.  This was new legislation, law that was cumbersome and impractical.  A 'course' in Miami was almost pointless, an unnecessary waste of time and money.  In addition I spent 2 weeks in Jamaica as part of a firearms 'training course' due to being a member of the Emergency Response Team (Bermuda's firearms unit).

I applied to be returned to the Narcotics Department, or uniform, on 19th March 1991, the AFT was mind numbing.

On 21st March 1990, I was summoned to Superintendent Birmingham's office where I met Mr Ramsey.  The conversation was brief, I was to be reinstated in the Narcotics department with immediate effect.  I was described (by Mr Birmingham) as a loose cannon who he wished to use.  He had a problem, drugs were a major problem and his 'intelligence' section was poorly equipped, working in a "pig sty".

At 4.45pm that same day the Narcotics Team were on standby and the first major interception of cocaine and cannabis occurred that year.

1990 saw a more major seizures and I found myself involved in most.  It was a manic year, to quote Chief Inspector Bissell; it was the best year the Narcotics department had ever seen".  My overtime from the enquiries was substantial, but necessary.  I was informed (by Mr Ramsey) that I was earning the same as an Assistant Commissioner.

The Miranda enquiry effectively put an end to my days in the Narcotics department.   I was transferred to uniform late August 1990, but contrary to the COP's directions, Inspector Jackson of the Narcotics Department requested my return on a day to day basis.

I left the Island 16th December 1990.  My 5 year contract was due to expire 3rd March 1991.  I had so much leave owing that I was paid to March 3rd and therefore completed my contract.




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