Another top cop leaves

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will lose another high-ranking member of its command staff in the coming weeks.

Superintendent Mike Needham, who oversees the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit, announced Friday to department commanders that he would be retiring to take a position in the private sector.

Mr. Needham, who has served with the RCIPS for about 10 years, could not immediately be reached for comment about his departure. A department spokesperson said a statement was being prepared, but it was not available by press time.

The superintendent’s departure is the latest at the troubled police force, which has seen four police commissioners in the past year. The RCIPS also had three top-ranking officers placed on temporary leave last March due to an on-going corruption probe in the department.

Former Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan was fired last year after he refused to return to the Cayman Islands on the orders of Governor Stuart Jack. Three other acting commissioners, including the current one, James Smith, have stepped in to fill Mr. Kernohan’s position.

Governor Jack recently said a short-list of four candidates for the permanent job would be going through the interview process in late March and April.

In addition, two other suspended police commanders, Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon and Chief Superintendent John Jones remain off the force and the subject of a criminal investigation. Mr. Dixon is set to face trial in August on charges of misconduct in a public office and doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice.

The Caymanian Compass has also learned that two other police superintendents, of the same rank as Mr. Needham, had applied for other positions within the government earlier this year.

Departures within the RCIPS command staff have been mirrored over the past 15 months by lower-ranking officers’ resignations or retirements. According to an open records request made by the Compass earlier this year, 49 police officers had left the service between 1 January, 2008 and mid-February, 2009. Most of those officers were either Caymanian retirees or expatriates from the United Kingdom who had decided not to finish their contracts.

Mr. Smith told the Legislative Assembly Friday that the police service is about 30 officers down from where it was a couple years ago.

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