The main hall at the Police Recreation Club was packed to capacity on Friday evening 2nd November 2018, as distinguished guests, including H.E. The Governor John Rankin, Minister of National Security The Hon. Wayne Caines, The Shadow Minister of National Security Michael Dunkley, senior members of the Judiciary, H.M. Customs, along with other professional colleagues and members of all ranks of the BPS gathered to bid a fond farewell to Deputy Commissioner Paul Wright on his retirement from the Bermuda Police Service.
Paul has almost 40 years of policing experience having joined the Humberside Police in England in 1979 and serving there for six years before joining the Bermuda Police Service in 1985. Paul arrived here on 7th March 1985 along with another 13 experienced police officers from the U.K. Also included in the group that day were two other young men, Gary Staines and Paul Towlson, who were in attendance at the reception.
Paul has served in a wide variety of postings including Community Policing, Criminal Investigations, Special Branch, Intelligence and Serious Crime. In 2001 he assumed responsibility for Special Branch and the Government Security Office upon promotion to Inspector.
Paul was promoted to Chief Inspector in 2004 and served as the Crime Manager for the Service. Upon promotion to Superintendent in 2007 he commanded the Intelligence Division where he implemented a modernization strategy to direct and underpin Intelligence-led Policing. In 2009 he assumed command of the Serious & Organised Crime Division where he initiated a program to professionalize investigation processes. He was promoted to Assistant Commissioner later that same year and in 2010 took charge of Community Policing. Paul was appointed to the post of Deputy Commissioner by His Excellency the Governor on 12th May 2014. In June 2014, he was awarded the Overseas Territories Police Medal for Meritorious Service.
As Deputy Commissioner Paul has been responsible for the Departments of Human Resources, Technology Services, Occupational Health and Professional Conduct. He also served as the Service Discipline Officer, working closely with the Police Complaints Authority to maintain the standards of professional behavior and respond to any complaints made against police officers.
The 2015 Throne Speech announced the intention to replace the forty-year old Police (Discipline) Orders of 1975 with a modern performance and attendance management framework that would also provide a fair and effective process to deal with officer misconduct. Paul led that change, culminating in the passage of the Police Amendment Act 2016 and the introduction of the Police Conduct and Performance Orders that came into effect on 2nd December 2016.
Paul has been both a popular and outstanding police officer throughout his service. In addition to completing the International Strategic Leadership Program at the Bramshill Police Staff College in England, he is a certified member of the Bermuda Insurance Institute and also the recipient of a Master’s Degree (MSc) from the Scarman Centre at the University of Leicester, England. In 2008 he was admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and in 2012 he was designated by the Institute as a Chartered Manager.
There is no question that throughout his police career, Paul has always displayed the qualities expected and demanded of a leader. He has also been exceptionally fortunate to have enjoyed the full support and love of his wife, Angela. The happy couple were married back in June 1992 after meeting and falling in love here in Bermuda (see Commissioner Corbishley’s remarks regarding the early days of their relationship!). Paul and Angela’s son, Christopher, was in attendance at the reception but his sister, Stephanie, is currently working as a newly-qualified Staff Nurse in Sheffield, England.
Editors note - We have also published an extensive album of photos from the reception which you can view at http://expobermuda.com/index.php/photo-gallery/paul-wright-retirement-party#!IMG_37731
Following messages of congratulations and thanks for his valuable contribution to the BPS from His Excellency the Governor, the Minister of National Security, the Shadow Minister of National Security, and the Acting head of H.M. Customs, Paul was “subjected” to a “Roast” from Commissioner Stephen Corbishley who, despite only recently having arrived on Island had clearly done his research by interviewing Paul’s fellow senior officers to obtain a dossier of “incriminating” information about him!
Just in case there is anyone reading this article who is not familiar with ‘Retirement Roasting’, these can at times be somewhat uncomfortable both for the audience and the subject in question, but I believe everyone present would heartily agree that Commissioner Corbishley did a superb job which was thoroughly enjoyed by all, especially Paul and Angela.
Here are a few extracts from his “Roast”, along with comments passed on through the Commissioner from fellow senior officers:-
“What follows is ten minutes of embellished stories and anecdotes wrapped around a thin vein of truth as I celebrate and commend to you the man that is our Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Paul Wright.
Before I start I note that Mr. Wright leaves not only big shoes to fill but also expensive ones as I note from one of his last emails today ……
“Please see attached a letter from my podiatrist Dr. Matthew Francis prescribing medical orthotic shoe inserts at a cost of $650. In line with policy I ask for this to be authorized for payment.”
To assist my words this evening I have had the pleasure of speaking with retired Inspector Terry Maxwell, who informed me of a couple of Paul’s nicknames, one being “Lightning” as he was said to be quite slow on his motorbike (when serving in MCPS).
(Editors note - We have been assured by Paul that he was given the nickname "Lightning" not because of being a slow rider on his MCPS bike, but because he was slow and careful when writing out traffic tickets!)
Terry also described when Paul met his wife Angela. Indeed it is said that Paul sought to hide Angela away in the early stages of their relationship, giving the prying and nosey nature of his police officer colleagues.
However, this did not prevent the disclosure that Angela was apparently in the early stages of starting a massage business. Clearly a red rag to a bull to the nature of police officers, resulting in an abundance of posters appearing around the Station with the image of a blonde lady and the headline “Massages Available - call 1-8000 and ask for Ange”
I am also informed that Paul was at boarding school in his formative years. I guess you have in your head the image of a well-groomed, polite young man, abiding by the discipline of academic life and parental direction. Oh no, the truth is far different.
I am led to believe that Paul and a fellow pupil duped their respective parents into believing they were staying at each other’s houses, thereby creating the opportunity to attend a Black Sabbath concert! However, post-concert it was discovered that their secret night out was hindered by the fact that public transportation had ended too early for them to get away with their night of deception. Clearly, Paul was a young man who even then could think on his feet and the dastardly pair went to a local nightclub which was open until 4am on the basis that if they stayed there, then public transportation would return upon their departure. However, the two were soon identified as far too young to be in such an establishment and following their capture by security staff, the local constabulary were called and then alarmingly, the unsuspecting respective parents. I understand it was a very long journey home for the two boys and clearly left an impression which has assisted Paul in being the head of discipline for the BPS!
His colleagues have come up with some further anecdotes I would like to share with you:-
Many of these involved Mr. Wright’s temper for some unknown reason, which is particularly prevalent in the early morning hours, or when facing technology.
I am led to believe that the BPS will make a substantial saving next year in relation to not having to repair photo copiers that suddenly don’t work or do what they are told, or indeed computer keyboards which have damaged keys or have bounced off walls. I also note that Ms. Flood wants you to know Paul, that you are not in fact the only person who can be bothered to change the ‘bloody water bottle’!
I received this comment from DCI Pedro - “Having worked in the Senior Command office for many months at a time, I observed that Mr. Wright often times ate his breakfast and read the paper in the communal kitchen early in the morning. Notoriously grumpy in the morning, woe betide anyone that spoke to Mr. Wright while he was eating or reading the paper. I can recall making this mistake on more than one occasion, and being severely reprimanded for interrupting him!”
Paul as you will see is a very fit man who takes his health seriously. Indeed he is a man of yoga and also proudly refers to himself as MAMIL – which for those of you who don’t know is a “Middle Aged Man in Lycra”
However, Paul’s youthful looks have often been the comment of some quite frankly unfair submissions I received, not least the connected observance that Angela has her own beauty business. Some questions I have dismissed include:- (1) Are the DCOP’s shiny white teeth really of true natural origin; (2) Is the lack of any spectacles the result of laser treatment; and (3) Is the absence of wrinkles for a man of his age an indication of the work of a certain Botox application.
Joking apart, I would like to read out some extracts of comments I have received from his colleagues:
Chief Inspector Hashim Estwick - I have always found the DCOP used reason and numbers and mathematics to logically communicate strategic and operations matters. For me, no greater honour can come to any man than the respect of his colleagues. A comment the DCOP made during a time of intense gang violence and internal discord was - “Good teams work well together, but great teams are friends.”
Superintendent N’iamah Astood - Below is the quote I believe sums up Mr. Wright. He has always been a true gentleman and very compassionate towards me. I remember when my mother died seven years ago, Mr Wright was one of the first persons to attend the hospital and console me. I will always be grateful for that because when leaders show that kind of compassion you will always remain true to them.
Quote – “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not need to set out to become a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent “(Douglas MacArthur)
Chief Inspector Tracy Adams - Whilst I did not always agree with Mr. Wright I have always respected the manner in which he carried himself and set the example for all members of the Bermuda Police Service to follow. He has always provided rationale around any of the decisions he made. He has always been honest and fair. I wish him and his wife a happy retirement. He now has more time to spray the boats around him!
Superintendent James Howard - I want DCOP Wright to know that, “Retirement means no pressure, no stress, no heartache …. unless he plays golf”! On a serious note, it’s hard to believe that Mr. Wright is retiring. Most people turn grey which is a sign that it is time, however, Mr Wright has been grey like almost forever!
Having worked directly with Mr. Wright since the age of 22, I can say that he has always provided invaluable words of wisdom in relation to my career and even more recently in relation to my personal life, and for that I am truly thankful. His guidance, mentorship and friendship has always inspired me to do better.
You will be missed. Happy retirement
Assistant Commissioner of Police Martin Weeks - His steering of the Service through the new Conduct system has been game changing. His work as the lone ACOP Gold Commander through the first couple of years of the “gang shootings” in 2009-2010 where he was on call 24/7 for about two years was worthy of a medal.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Antoine Daniels - Mr. Wright has been a steady and supportive influence on my career and although we disagree on some elements of policing which is natural, his overall and consistent approach, sound judgement and advice on matters such as conduct, strategy, and day to day life is unquestioned.
As an Assistant Commissioner over the past six years he guided/mentored me through some difficult periods and especially provided close support during the 2009-2011 period of multiple firearms murders and injuries. Some of his achievements include CCTV, new and improved Conduct and Performance Orders that focus on learning and development rather than blame and punishment, and the creation of working groups to design and implement a new BPS computer system. (Memex)
I wish Paul and Angela a healthy and happy retirement.
At the conclusion of his “Roast”, Commissioner Corbishley wished all the very best to Paul and Angela for the future and proposed a toast to the two of them.
Paul was then presented with a cedar plaque, and Angela with a bouquet of flowers as retirement gifts from the Commissioner, Officers and Police Staff of the BPS.
Following the “Roast” it was the turn of Detective Sergeant Gary Staines to say a few words of introduction to Paul, and there was no-one better qualified to do so as Gary came out to Bermuda on the same day as Paul, and they have remained close friends throughout their time in the BPS.
Paul was up to the task of giving his retirement speech as follows:-
"I promised to make my own retirement function a low-key and inclusive affair that hopefully would fit in with most people’s schedules – being after work but before dinner and with a minimum of speech making. From the looks of it, that strategy worked a charm and I am delighted and honoured to see such a great turn out. It is is actually very humbling for me and I am deeply grateful to you all.
"I knew that I would be expected to say a few words and so having no previous experience of retirement speeches upon which to draw, I decided to ‘google’ it:
"Scott Elledge said: “It is time I stepped aside for a less experienced and less able person” – That sounded too conceited so I rejected that quote.
Groucho Marx said “There is one thing I always wanted to do before I just quit…retire!” That hit the mark for me. I believe that the best time to think about your retirement is before your boss does!
"I joined the Humberside Police in England as a Cadet in January 1979 – almost 40 years ago - the same year that Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. Policing was quite similar to the environment portrayed in the TV series Life on Mars.
"When I started work all the now common computer words had different meanings: Before we were overtaken by the digital age, to be in possession of a “Mouse”, 'some RAM' or even “a floppy” meant something entirely different. Now I have unprecedented computing capacity with my smart phone but autocorrect has become my worst enema! Back then there were no computers, or photocopiers. Instead there were telex machines and leather-bound ledgers.
"But despite those differences and our modern ways today, some things have remained constant over the years. The ‘job’ was always there for me and it has at times been joyful, terrifying, heart-breaking, fun and exciting and sometimes utterly depressing but it has also always been varied, stimulating, satisfying and demanding. I admit that I have put the demands of the job first – even before my own family at times.
"Retirement will give me the opportunity to step back from daily public service and reassign my priorities on my spiritual and family life.
"The other thing that has remained essential for policing throughout the years; building effective relationships and working collaboratively and in support of like-minded good people to serve our community. That is really why this retirement reception is so important to me because at this gathering I see you all. I remember what we have done together and I can honestly say that we did our best and left the situation in better condition than it was when we found it.
"I am so very grateful to you all not only for what you have done to help me during my career, but to give the thanks and the honour to you for the good people that you are and by extension the service that you provide to our community.
"Finally, I left this last bit until the end because I knew that if I led with it I might become too emotional to get through the speech to the bit where I just told you that you were all such great people!
"I want to take a moment to publicly thank God for my wife Angela. You all know that I have been boxing above my weight for years in the wife department! We have been together for 32 years and as well as being the love of my life she has always been an unwavering source of strength and support for me throughout. I also want to acknowledge and thank my son Christopher who is with us tonight, and my daughter Stephanie who is working this evening as a staff nurse at a hospital in England. I am immensely proud of the adults that they have become. My family made sacrifices and adjustments to accommodate my policing career and they never complained.”
Paul’s speech was extremely well received and he was given three hearty cheers by all present.
Having attended more than a few retirement receptions I can say without doubt it was abundantly clear from all those present that Paul has been an extremely popular, well liked and much admired police officer throughout his career. During my time as President of the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association, Paul has been a strong supporter of ExPo in every way possible, with he and Angela attending many of our social functions.
I’m sure I speak on behalf of all of our ExPo members in saying that we wish Paul and Angela all the very best in the years ahead.