Police Investigator addresses public meeting

Staying true to his word, Senior Investigating Officer of the independent police investigation Martin Bridger briefed the public at a recent district meeting on investigations into allegations of misconduct in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

Tuesday evening at a meeting held by the West Bay Action Committee at Ristorante Pappagallo, Mr. Bridger spoke about the process of his investigations here and took questions from the public.

Mr. Bridger has two separate teams working in the Cayman Islands. The first is the original team of UK investigators, now numbering seven, looking into the initial allegations of misconduct against three top RCIPS commanders.

A second team of five is looking into other complaints which have come to the investigative team after the public became aware that an investigation into the police was being conducted.

Mr. Bridger had said in a recent statement that the more informed the community, the better.

‘I recognise that within the community there are key stakeholder groups and individual stakeholders who, I believe, should hear directly from me. It is now my intention to put in place additional public communications to keep the community informed on these important issues.’

He stated that the community would be updated in a series of district meetings to be scheduled over the coming weeks and months. ‘I want to meet with you and encourage you to invite me to attend your community, association, or congregational event so that you can learn the facts directly from the investigative team.’

At the meeting, Mr. Bridger told attendees a vast number of people have come forward to report issues of concern to his team.

‘It may be that what people should be doing is seeing this as an opportunity. What message is that telling you, that a vast number of people are coming forward saying ‘Thank God you’re here’ because that’s what they are saying.’

He said he has advised the Governor to go through with the entire investigation and see it through to the end, even though it may be expensive.

He praised the RCIPS, saying there is a lot of good people in it and, putting any allegations aside, there are some training and systems and processes in place that could be better, as is the case with every police force around the world.

‘What we’d like to be part of and intend to be part of, is to start to lay the foundations for an even better RCIPS,’ he said.

He said there is no reason it could not become one of the best police forces in the world. ‘So I think there’s a real opportunity there,’ he said.

Mr. Bridger said he had found it insulting that people had suggested that he was just here to have a good time. ‘We are trying to make long term, an even better police force for the Cayman Islands,’ he said.

One comment from the floor was that criminals see cases being unsolved and so commit more crimes.

Mr. Bridger noted that a major challenge for any police force in the world is the overall confidence in the policing.

‘If people are going to come forward and stand up in court and give evidence, if they do that, I’m talking about in all police forces, they need the confidence that they will be supported in giving that evidence. I think that remains a challenge in all police forces,’ he said.

He added, ‘You need to support those that show the courage to come forward.’