No tolerance for police ‘daylighters’

Commissioner of Police Stuart Kernohan said he wants to know about non-police work undertaken during normal working hours by police officers.

George Town

Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan, left, answers questions during a community meeting Wednesday in George Town. Photo: John Higginson

‘If we receive specific information about such activities, it will be taken very seriously and action will be taken,’ he said.

Mr. Kernohan made the remarks in response to a written statement from the Cayman Contractors Association alleging some civil servants were not only moonlighting by working a second after-hour job, but in fact ‘daylighting’, which is working on their own businesses while being paid for working for Government.

The CCA pointed out that many of daylighters owned their own construction companies.

‘Moonlighting is a questionable activity, as it may leave the employee too tired and distracted to perform his primary job,’ the CCA statement said. ‘Daylighting is nothing short of theft from Government and, by extension, from taxpayers.’

While the CCA statement addressed several departments and government organisations, it spoke specifically to how critical the Police and Fire Departments were to maintaining a safe and secure society.

‘Yet we find daylighting on all levels,’ the CCA stated. ‘From clean-up crews and the trucking of aggregate, to full-blown construction companies servicing multi-million-dollar contracts, the people we charge with our safety are increasingly distracted from their primary duties.

‘This fact is evident to all the public, as we are all aware of the current dramatic increase in crime.’

Mr. Kernohan said the situation of police working second jobs was not unique to Cayman.

‘I haven’t worked on a force where there wasn’t a second job allowed under certain guidelines,’ he said.

Mr. Kernohan explained the guidelines usually attempt to avoid three things: conflicts of interest, undue influence and working for personal benefit during working hours.

Conflicts of interest could occur if a police officer had a business that had a potential for law-breaking, Mr. Kernohan said.

‘We have to be careful what kind of businesses our officers are in,’ he said. ‘The image of the Service is important as well.’

Undue influence could occur if a police officer used his office in some way to gain contracts for his business, through intimidation or other means.

As for daylighting, Mr. Kernohan said he wanted RCIP officers to focus on their jobs.

‘In this current climate, we need all the police officers’ attention to fight crime and maintain law and order,’ he said.

Mr. Kernohan pointed out that part of his mandate was to bring about a performance culture, where police officers are held accountable during the working day.

Supervisors will check to ensure officers are meeting their performance goals and targets, he said, noting that most officers would have no time to do anything else.

The performance management regime will either take care of the daylighting problem or highlight the offenders, Mr. Kernohan said.

‘We can’t afford to carry passengers in the Police Service,’ he said.

Mr. Kernohan noted that there are no regulations that forbid a RCIP officer from having a second job or an outside business interest in Cayman as long as it was property authorised.

Nor does he necessarily think that permission should be unreasonably denied.

‘In the current financial climate, police officers could be disadvantaged by an embargo on working second jobs,’ he said.

Mr. Kernohan said he would be conducting a review of how many police officers have permission to work second jobs or have personal business interests, and that he would also look at the kinds of jobs or businesses they had.

He also said he would be communicating to police supervisors to make sure outside business interests were not affecting police work of officers.

Mr. Kernohan said there was another way to refocus the RCIP.

‘We want to bring back the passion of policing,’ he said. ‘We want our officers to be focused on doing their job and doing it well so they get job satisfaction and take pride in their work.

‘We want them to have motivation to enforce laws and arrest criminals.’

On the issue of off-duty police officers wearing their uniforms while tending to non-police activities, Mr. Kernohan took a strong stand.

‘If you’re in uniform, I can’t see how you could be off duty, if the truth be told,’ he said.

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