The RCIP will be operating at full strength in six weeks to eight weeks, and are preparing to blanket communities around Cayman.
Acting Commissioner of Police Rudolph Dixon told a community meeting in Scranton Park on Wednesday night that the RCIP was on the point of recovering its full establishment of 320 officers after struggling for almost one year at levels approximately 10 per cent below standard.
‘We hope to have the service up to full strength and I intend to go out into the community and I want to get volunteers there to be the eyes and ears of the police. The public has to be prepared to stand up to these criminals,’ Mr. Dixon told the gathering of approximately two dozen neighbourhood residents.
The meeting was the second in as many nights, bringing top RCIP officers together with residents to discuss community needs and police response.
On Tuesday night, Mr. Dixon and his senior staff met residents of the Prospect neighbourhood in east George Town, and promised to create six neighbourhood watch committees in the next three months.
On Wednesday evening, he offered Scranton one of those six committees, and renewed his commitment to deliver measurable results to the neighbourhood by 1 October, when appointment of a new police commissioner is scheduled.
‘To have a long-tern strategy to meet the community’s needs, we have to attack (crime) from its roots,’ he told the gathering.
‘We want to know what to do for the next three months …. and I want to set objectives so we can come back and say ‘here’s what you get after three months’. We want you to hold us accountable.’
Throughout the two-hour meeting, he renewed calls for neighbourhood involvement in policing efforts, explaining that officers relied on the public not only for information, but as witnesses in court
‘There are a lot of procedures to go through and we have to provide evidence to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a person did something,’ Mr. Dixon said.
‘When the offence is committed in the presence of an officer, there is no problem. The problem is when an offence is committed in view of the public and we don’t get witnesses coming forward.’
He said he would meet Liquor Licensing Board members and bar owners in September to address growing concerns about security in nightclubs, and promised a similar three-month period in which police would deliver tangible results.
‘I am not happy with some of the security arrangements in some of the nightclubs,’ Mr. Dixon said, describing how security guards, when faced with a problem, often simply moved the offenders off the premises.
‘All that does is move the problem outside,’ he said.
He hoped to reach agreement in which clubs would provide extra security guards, metal detectors at doors, clearly marked emergency exists and emergency lighting, and would ban anyone creating problems.
In exchange, he said, police would visit each club twice each night as part of neighbourhood patrols.
‘I will make my officers accountable for what is happening, and there will be checks,’ he said.
He sought to reassure residents that information they provided to police would remain confidential.
‘The police service is not as efficient as it should be,’ he conceded, as he sought community support for the anti-crime campaign. ‘I am talking to the government to get resources, and I will be working to enhance effectiveness and efficiency.
‘We have a very good police force, with some of the highest detection rates in the world, but there is room for improvement … and this is what we want to know. We want to build a partnership to understand your needs,’ he said.