Top Met investigator out

Police corruption probe to continue

Two separate investigations into alleged misconduct within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will continue, but the man who has headed the probe since it began in September 2007 will soon be removed from command.

Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger will continue to work with the investigating team, dubbed Operation Tempura, through the end of April “to facilitate a handover,” according to a statement released this evening by Acting RCIPS Commissioner James Smith.

Mr. Bridger’s deputy senior officer, believed to be UK Met investigator Richard Coy, will lead Operation Tempura to its conclusion following Mr. Bridger’s departure.

The second investigation, dubbed Operation Cealt by Mr. Smith, will be led by a new senior officer yet to be named.

“Senior Investigating Officer Bridger’s departure does not mean that these investigations are over,” Mr. Smith’s statement read. “The investigations are not just about one person.”

Mr. Smith said he has spent the past few weeks reviewing complaints concerning incidents involving alleged police corruption that now form the basis of Operation Cealt. He told Cayman Islands Cabinet members Tuesday that certain of those claims should be investigated as a priority, but did not indicate the nature of any specific complaint.

Cabinet members agreed to approve another $915,810 to fund the work of both on-going police operations.

The previous investigations under the name of Operation Tempura are now primary focused on preparing for the upcoming trials of former Cayman Islands MLA Lyndon Martin and suspended Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon.

Mr. Martin’s trial is scheduled to begin on 23 March.

There was no mention made in the acting commissioner’s statement about whether two other top RCIPS officials, former Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones were still being investigated. Neither man has been arrested or charged with any crimes since their removal from office on 27 March, 2008.

The second phase of the corruption probe has been underway for some time and appears to be broader in scope, considering not only specific acts of alleged corruption, but also areas where RCIPS can improve its methods to prevent police misconduct in the future.

“For example, we need to look at our vetting procedure when we recruit police officers,” Mr. Smith said in his statement. “We also need to look at the way we access information and intelligence because it is imperative that we be able to ensure the public confidentiality when they give us information essential to our work.”

Mr. Smith said Cabinet was supportive of the additional funding for the police investigations. Elected government ministers had previously balked at providing more cash for the special police operations, until Mr. Bridger was removed and they were given a more complete update on what officers were doing.

Make sure to read more on this story in Thursday’s editions….

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