The Police Commissioner today attempted to boost confidence in the police service by issuing a public apology for the theft of secret documents about alleged corruption at Bermuda Housing Corporation that named Government Ministers.

Parts of the documents were printed in the press, which led to an injunction and a move by the Premier Ewart Brown and former Cabinet Minister Nelson Bascome to sue all the island's media.

It also led to a full investigation to find out who stole the documents, which included arresting the Auditor General, Larry Dennis, who has since been released uncharged. Some critics said the arrest was a step too far, but in today's statement, George Jackson defends the service saying: "All measures that have been taken by the police have been appropriate."

He also said that he has enlisted the help of English police officers to review how the ongoing investigation is being conducted.

Mr. Jackson said: "The Bermuda Police Service is investigating the theft of confidential documents relating to the BHC and other inquiries. The Service would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that the police have operational independence and the command and control of the service is a matter for the Commissioner of Police. The allocation of resources to this investigation is also a matter for the Commissioner of Police and other senior members of the Service."

He continued: "The lines of inquiry that the Bermuda Police Service is pursuing and intends to pursue are entirely a matter for the Service, subject to applicable legislation.

"The theft of police files is considered a major breach, as it erodes the trust the public has delicately placed in the hands of the investigators and we are duty bound to investigate without fear, prejudice or favour."

Mr. Jackson said: "We want the public to feel confident that this is a standardized, systematic investigation that is following the normal investigative course which includes pursuing lines of inquiry and interviewing witnesses. We are confident that all measures that have been taken by the police have been appropriate for the circumstances of this case."

His statement concluded saying: "At this juncture, in accordance with established good practice, I have invited a U.K. police force to review the conduct of our investigation and provide assistance and support to our team.

"Officers from Kent Constabulary will arrive on the island in due course. I am reiterating that this hits at the very heart of policing and we urge anyone that can provide any information pertaining to this matter to contact police." The number is 295 0011.

Despite his apology, it's unclear as to whether or not the documents were actually stolen, or merely copied and distributed to the media.