'Pc Blog' suspended after posting criticism of his bosses
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 10:06 AM
A police officer who writes a controversial blog has been suspended after posting remarks about his superiors.
Allan Palmer claimed his online diary, Crushing Fools, would give the public a more open view of the Bermuda Police Service (BPS).
Serving officers are not supposed to talk to the press or to air their views publicly. One of his earliest blogs - which questioned official police statistics - was removed from the site without explanation, in a move seen by some as censorship. Father-of-three P.c. Palmer, 41, of Devonshire, is believed to have joined the BPS around four years ago.
Mr. Palmer has now been suspended for an entry called Not Against Flesh and Blood But Spiritual Wickedness. In the article, Mr. Palmer, who is originally from St. Vincent, claims there is a strong Barbadian faction within the BPS, which is known by serving officers as the BM, or "Barbadian Mafia."
Mr. Palmer claims that the BM holds the balance of power within the force and makes some serious allegations about its conduct. He goes on to name a superior officer who he believes controls the BM.
The BPS yesterday confirmed that Mr. Palmer had been suspended, but said it could not comment further regarding an internal investigation. However, sources told the Bermuda Sun that among the rank-and-file, few have qualms about Mr. Palmer's suspension. Originally, many officers were sympathetic of Mr. Palmer's attempts to bring more transparency to the BPS. However, most believe he went too far by naming individuals.
One policeman, who did not wish to be named said: "Freedom of speech is one thing, but there was a lot there we didn't recognize." In his latest post, called Where are the Strong Men and Reputable Fathers?, Mr. Palmer announces he has been suspended, and blames elements within the force that do not tolerate "free thinking." He also says he has been put under severe pressure by his superiors since starting the blog in December.
He says: "On my return to work I was informed via the police email system, of a very big meeting with an inspector [and others]... This meeting organized to discuss a flawless case file. The main intent of the meeting was designed to intimidate."
He continues: "It is a crying shame that this blog which was started to motivate and inspire the people of Bermuda who [sic] (is very protective of their country and the traditions that make this island the unique place it is) love Bermuda very much; to do what is necessary to ensure that the uniqueness and tranquility of the island is maintained."
He adds: "It was unfortunate that my effort was met with opposition... There are many constables, sergeants, even inspectors with brilliant ideas that [sic] is discussed among themselves but never reach the ears of the policy makers."
One of Mr. Palmer's earliest blogs claimed that official police statistics were obscuring a bigger crime wave than many Bermudians realized. Soon after it was posted, the blog was deleted, with a message stating that the reasons for its removal would not be discussed. Fellow bloggers attacked the BPS for what they considered censorship.
Yesterday afternoon, the entry named Not Against Flesh and Blood But Spiritual Wickedness had also been removed, with a note saying that "The foregone article has already served its purpose."