Met interviews RCIPS ops chief

One of the three top Royal Cayman Islands Police commanders placed on leave during an investigation into alleged misconduct at the police service has now been interviewed by officers, according to a statement released Friday by Acting Police Commissioner James Smith.

Chief Superintendent John Jones was one of three top RCIPS officers taken off the job in March while a special team from the UK Metropolitan Police looked into allegations that the three men ordered an unauthorised search at the offices of local newspaper publisher Desmond Seales.

Investigators with the UK Met team have still not spoken with ex-RCIPS Commissioner Stuart Kernohan, but Mr. Smiths statement indicated that arrangements were being made to speak with him.

In his statement about the on-going investigation, his first since taking the commissioners post, Mr. Smith supported the efforts of the UK Met team and Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger.

I am satisfied that enquiries are being made with due diligence and speed and that the quality of the investigative work is to a very high standard, Mr. Smiths statement read.

Mr. Bridgers team has been the subject of heavy public criticism recently following a pair of judicial rulings; one of which stated investigators improperly and illegally obtained search warrants, and another judgment which denied the issuance of separate search warrants because there was no evidence that the subjects of those warrants had committed any criminal offences.

Cayman Islands lawmakers have called for the investigation to be wrapped up and for Mr. Bridger to be sent back to the UK.

Mr. Smith will chair an oversight committee that was formed some time ago as part of his duties as commissioner. The Special Investigation Advisory Group provides oversight for the UK Met teams investigation and has the final word on all funding decisions.

The group is made up of Mr. Smith, Deputy Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks, Solicitor General Cheryll Richards, Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson, Long-time Cayman Islands civil servant Peter Gough, and Mr. Bridger. Its expected the committee will meet at least once a week.

Mr. Smith said he could not set a time frame on when the investigation into the entry at the newspaper offices would be complete. He said an assessment of other allegations of criminality within the RCIPS is due by the end of January.

Read more on this story in the Caymanian Compass on Monday….

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