Less police foot patrols budgeted

There are half as many Royal Cayman Islands Police Service patrols budgeted in the 2006/07 fiscal year compared to 2005/06 because of their infectiveness in the more remote areas of the island, Commissioner Stuart Kernohan told the Finance Committee last week.

Overall, however, Mr. Kernohan said the plan is to substantially increase police visibility, especially when it comes to mobile patrols.

The 2005/06 forecast was for 10,000 to 14,000 hours of police foot patrols and only 4,500 to 5,414 hours budgeted in 2006/07.

In response to a question from Sister Islands MLA Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, Mr. Kernohan explained that while having foot patrols in some areas is an effective allocation of resources, in areas like the Eastern Districts, where the population is sparser and spread farther apart, they are not.

‘There may be less foot patrols in areas where they will be less effective,’ he said, noting that the RCIP had to use its resources flexibly depending on conditions such as the time of day.

Mr. Kernohan said he hoped the actual figure of foot patrol hours for the next fiscal year is a higher than stated.

‘I would not want to over-estimate and then under-deliver,’ he said. ‘I hope to deliver more than 9,000 hours.’

The 2006/07 budget also reduces bicycle patrols significantly, from 4,000 to 7,000 hours in 2005/06 to 825 to 944 hours in 2006/07.

Car patrols, however, will see a large increase from 40,000 to 55,000 hours budgeted in 2005/06 to 70,000 to 85,850 in 2006/07.

Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly asked in another questions if the police were expecting more crime because the quantity of the number of victims that would be provided with advice was budgeted to increase from 8,000 to 10,000 in 2005/06 up to 17,000 too 20,513 in 2006/07.

‘We are not forecasting more crimes. We expect them at the same level as last year,’ Mr. Kernohan said, explaining that the increase was in recognition that there were often several people in the same household where a crime took place that required police advice.

George Town MLA Lucille Seymour asked Mr. Kernohan if there were any plans to put police kiosks or substations in high-crime areas in order to increase police presence.

Mr. Kernohan said there were currently no plans to create such facilities.

‘Police should not be sitting in a station, but outside patrolling,’ he said. ‘Every time we open a new substation, it requires police officers to sit inside them.’

Mr. Kernohan said police officers in mobile units could possibly be used to increase police presence in the crime hot-spot areas without the resource drawbacks of a substation.

Mrs. Seymour asked if there was a Mobile Police Station that could temporarily be positioned in the high-crime areas.

Mr. Kernohan explained that the RCIPS does already have a mobile police station, but that it is not being fully used just yet, and it was a priority to get it fully utilized.

Of the $42.7 million allocated to the RCIPS in the 2006/07 fiscal year, $4.46 million is budget for the police marine unit for a marine facility and vessels.

Another vessel of similar size to the Cayman Protector will be purchased, along with smaller interceptor boats, Mr. Kernohan said.

Other allocations for the police included $11.65 million for patrols, $9.79 million for incident responses, $8.88 million to investigate and detect crime, $3.65 million for summonsing and prosecuting services, and $1.99 million for community crime prevention promotion activities.