Crackdown coming on drunk driving

A high profile campaign to crack down on drinking and driving is on the way, new RCIP Commissioner Stuart Kernohan warned.

People had to realise that if they did not stop drinking and driving their chances of being caught were far greater, he told a public meeting in George Town on Wednesday night.

Patrols would be maximised to check on drivers breaking the law, and anyone found drinking and driving would be prosecuted, he said.

Mr. Kernohan said that years ago in the UK, drinking and driving was seen as socially acceptable by some but now it was totally unacceptable.

He felt there was some work to be done here to make sure people realised the importance of not drinking and driving.

More people are killed as a result of road accidents than through crimes of violence, and fatal accidents are not just costly in human terms, he said.

It had been estimated that every fatal road accident in the UK took one million pounds of resources to deal with, he added.

A small, but lively audience at the Mary Miller Hall heard Mr. Kernohan set out his views on various aspects policing and then fired questions at him.

But firstly, Deputy Commissioner Rudi Dixon told the audience about how the problems raised at the last George Town meeting three months ago had since been addressed.

Mr. Dixon said he had promised to deliver six neighbourhood watches and to date four had been completed and five others were in the immediate pipeline.

Since the last meeting burglaries had been reduced and were now down to a pre-Hurricane Ivan level and there had been no shootings since the last meeting.

Mr. Kernohan, who has been here only four weeks, said crime would be clamped down on at all levels and there would be an emphasis on neighbourhood and community policing.

The RCIP must be seen to care, to listen and to act, he said.

They wanted to build relationships with people, build up trust and confidence and, among other things, have police out on foot patrols.

It was important to get the basics right, he told the meeting.

The police had done a good job here but some of the systems and processes had perhaps not been as focused as he would like to see and were different from what he had been used to.

Mr. Kernohan said a high level strategic meeting had recently been held to consider what the RCIP would do in the next few years as well as in the short term.

The RCIP wanted to increase its effectiveness and get the structure right.

They wanted to play their part in the criminal justice processes by making sure that witnesses and victims came forward, that anonymities were preserved and that files were as well prepared as possible, he said.

Partnerships with other agencies such as Customs and Immigration were important and there were issues such as improving national concerns such as border protection and security, he said.

Such things as the police having the right equipment and leadership were important.

The vast majority of police officers turned up to do a good job but if they were not led the right way they could not be as effective, said Mr. Kernohan.

Some concern was raised by the audience about drug dealing in the Boddens Road area of George Town.

Mr. Kernohan said he would address the issue but there was no point setting up a neighbourhood watch if, as some people felt, there would be as problem with lack of co-operation.

Deputy Commissioner Mr. Dixon said it had been proposed to tidy up and beautify the area to help deter people from using it for dealing drugs.

Commissioner Mr. Kernohan said the situation was about ‘taking the ground back first’ before beautifying it.

With the RCIP said to be presently short of vehicles – although new ones were on the way – Mr. Kernohan was asked a question about two police cars that appeared to be parked a good deal of the time outside an apartment complex in George Town.

Mr. Kernohan said that the idea of police taking cars home did not work unless they had sufficient vehicles.

But cars did tend to last longer if they were allocated to particular officers, because they were better looked after, he said.

Often, crimes such as theft and burglary did tend to be driven by people looking for money to get drugs, he said and he hoped to see programmes in place to make sure that the rehabilitation side of things was properly dealt with.

Mr. Dixon said Cayman seemed to be a perfect place for a tracking system.

There was a small nucleus of people, mainly recidivist, committing many of the crimes and a tracking system, which was fairly inexpensive, could lead to easy identification of someone committing such a crime, he said.

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