RCIPS must restore reputation

How sad for the vast majority of hard working and dedicated officers and civilian members of RCIPS that the high profile investigations are to follow.

Let us remember that investigation into the original allegations, which brought the so called Met team to the Islands, should now be totally concluded.

What remains are, in the words of the acting commissioner, are ‘serious allegations of criminal misconduct’ amongst a ‘small number of RCIPS officers.’

In any organisation there will be the proverbial bad apple and any police service in the world is no different. The RCIPS has always had, within its ranks, and, unfortunately, always will, some officers and staff who are corrupt and / or criminal.

They must be dealt with by the organisation itself. Not one honest and hardworking officer or staff member wants to be tainted by these bad apples.

The RCIPS has a Professional Standards Department which is responsible for dealing with these issues. Only in exceptional cases should outside assistance be necessary. It must be a priority for both the acting commissioner and the permanent replacement to ensure that this department is staffed and equipped with the resources it needs and that there are robust policies and procedures in place to effectively discharge this key duty.

Of course, there is the real argument that the police cannot be trusted to investigate themselves. In order to overcome this issue, the investigations carried out by this unit should be overseen by an outside and independent body.

In the UK, the Independent Police Complaints Commission carries out this function. The IPCC oversee the work of the individual professional standards departments and can, in very exceptional circumstances, take over an investigation completely.

Whilst not advocating the development of such a commission in Cayman I would respectfully suggest that this is a role that the Office of the Complaints Commissioner should undertake. The OCC might need two or three additional staff to cover the routine overview role and would then bring in external investigators only when the individual circumstances require it and then only for as short a time as necessary.
Finally, with this system, the final independence is in the hands of the courts.

I find it quite incredible that an external investigation team was permitted to tout for cases especially when this suggests widespread corruption within the RCIPS and a total inadequacy of the service’s Professional Standard Unit to deal with complaints, corruption and crime.

It is time for the RCIPS to work toward restoring the trust of the public, a trust that the vast majority of hardworking officers and staff have always deserved.

As an ex proud member of the RCIPS, it grieves me the trust of the public has been so eroded when so many of my ex-colleagues deserve better.

Ashley Tiffen