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Building up Communities

Restorative Justice and Our Uniformed Services

One of the fundamental responsibilities of any government is the security of our citizens and ensuring a safe environment in which all can thrive.

This requires a multidimensional approach, beginning with valuing all our uniformed personnel by providing the best possible conditions of service and physical environment.

It also requires vigorously confronting the manifestations of crime, and crime itself, by a unified approach by all social agencies and our uniformed services, as well as the utilization of all modern approaches and tools.

The OBA values our uniformed services. Their performance during the Covid-19 crisis underscored their commitment and diligence and we all owe them our gratitude for their service.

They worked above and beyond anything we could have asked, putting their lives at risk due to a lack of PPE and other resources necessary to carry out their duties because of disrespect by the Burt administration.

The contempt of the Burt administration for this vital arm of governance is also clearly evident in the unhealthy conditions in which some of our uniformed sectors work, including our Prison officers.

Instead of dealing with these serious issues, the Burt administration is threatening cuts which will only negatively impact the safety of our nation.

The improvement of all our uniformed services and providing a modern and workable structure for Restorative Justice will be a pillar of the OBA Government.

They deserve the support of all Bermudians and a Government that cares.

The OBA believes that the criminal justice system is not designed to solve the myriad of social issues facing the community.

Rather than relying strictly on our police officers, magistrates and prison officers to solve these social issues, the OBA believes that it is high time to introduce a restorative justice programme to Bermuda.

The ultimate result will be the building of stronger, safer communities by strengthening social support, providing checkpoints for, in particular, early intervention, enhancing institutional dialogue and collaboration and freeing up uniformed personnel to concentrate on the essential core responsibilities of their jobs.

The OBA will:

  • Fully invest in our Uniformed Services by ensuring they do not lack for basic needs such as clothing, and equipping them with modern technologies to better ensure safety and crime prevention, including body cameras for police officers, updated fire equipment and emergency ambulances.
  • Address the serious facilities deficiencies at our prisons to ensure our prison officers work in a safe and healthy environment.
  • Ensure our Uniformed Services are fully staffed, so that services are routinely provided, with reduced reliance on overtime pay and the promotion of well-being for those who give service to our Island.
  • Develop interconnectivity between all relevant organisations so all departments can be aware of actions and share necessary information faster.
  • Provide clerical support to our Uniformed Services so that they are free to concentrate on their important core tasks and not be bogged down by non-critical duties.
  • Provide on-call mental health and social workers to support the police in responding to non-criminal calls to provide de-escalation or crisis assistance.
  • Establish an annual “Summit for the Community”, to include our Uniformed Services, Educators, Social Workers, Parish Councillors, Clergy and Community Leaders to focus on and discuss the strengthening of community policing and relations.

The OBA believes that strong preventative and rehabilitation programmes are important in maintaining safe communities, to provide ongoing support to victims’ families, to support and guide at-risk youth and to give offenders a second chance.

The OBA will, therefore:

  • Implement a Restorative Justice Programme through a Department of Restorative Justice to include:
    • Increased support for victims of crime.
    • Strengthening support for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
    • Instituting a Second Chance programme involving mentorship and work programmes.
    • Expunging of certain offences from the records of young offenders following successful completion of community orders.
    • Magistrates’ Court-guided community orders for certain non-violent offences for qualified offenders overseen by revamped
    • Parish Councils with social worker assistance.
    • Establishing a programme of anger management and conflict resolution classes in schools and for adults in a community setting.
    • Introducing civics programmes in schools that stress respect, recognise bullying and abuse, buttressed by anger management and conflict resolution teaching.
    • Strengthening counselling, particularly mental health counselling for and between offenders following a violent incident.
    • Fostering new community policing initiatives, including structured meetings and communications between uniformed services and neighbourhood organisations.
    • Family conferencing, and pre and post-sentence work.
    • Victim-offender conferencing.
  • Continue to improve upon the Alternatives to Incarceration scheme.

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