Weakness in RCIPS system

I have read the letter ‘Officers must show respect’, which was published 10 January in the Caymanian Compass, with great interest and must express my respect and admiration for the writer’s eloquence and courage.

It has been a very long time now that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has needed to be made aware of some of its officers’ unnecessarily aggressive, threatening manners and behaviour when carrying out routine operations that involve innocent members of the public.

This culture dates back to the old days of policing in Cayman when there were no citizens rights in the Cayman Islands and still influences how the RCIPS operates to some degree.

The RCIPS has never been successfully prosecuted for any abuse of citizens’ rights in the Cayman Islands to my knowledge although abuses have undoubtedly taken place, even in recent times.

Under the evolvement of the new human rights situation regarding the constitutional review and upgrade, I’m certain that once the proper system is put in place, those prosecutions will come if the RCIPS does not take steps to educate and bring its members in line with what is considered the acceptable norm in the UK and the European Union, of which the Cayman Islands still remains a part.

I have experienced this behaviour by members of the RCIPS myself first hand where on a night in August 2006, I was accosted by members of an RCIPS patrol in central George Town and verbally abused by a special constable on that patrol for absolutely no good reason as I was not breaking any laws nor a suspect in any crime at the time.

This abuse led to an argument between myself and this special constable, which resulted in this patrol arresting and detaining me under charges that had nothing to do with the initial situation.

That matter is still sub judice in the Appeal Courts system so no more should be said about it in this forum.

My point in mentioning it here is to give an example of what the writer of the letter has brought our attention to.

In my case, the fact that this special constable seemed to be in the lead of fully gazetted police officers, allowed to abuse citizen and given full backing by the other members of this patrol is what disturbed me the most, considering that special constables are supposed to render support for police operations and are given very limited training in police work per se.

This letter is not meant to be critical of the RCIPS as a whole because in my profession as a security professional, I have had to and will have to continue maintain a proper working relationship with the RCIPS.

It is meant to point out a weakness in their ranks that needs to be addressed for the good of us all.

Ricardo Tatum

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