Op. Tempura complaint filed

Says former investigators didn’t do job

A formal complaint was filed earlier this month with the Royal Cayman Islands Police regarding two former officers on the UK Metropolitan Police “Operation Tempura” investigating team.

The complaint, sent to the Complaints and Discipline Department of the police Professional Standards Unit alleged that then-RCIPS Special Constables Martin Bridger and Richard Coy ignored alleged criminal activities brought to their attention.

“Martin Bridger and Richard Coy…received details of alleged criminal activities but, because of personal involvement with the subject of those allegations…failed to either investigate the allegations or pass them on to another officer for investigation,” the complaint read.

The precise allegations of criminal activity referred to in the complaint, filed by former Crown witness John Evans, are not detailed here because they are potentially defamatory and have not been brought in charges before any court of law.

Mr. Evans’ complaint seeks to establish that Messrs. Bridger and Coy refused to investigate his claims or pass on information about them, regardless of whether any offence was actually committed.

RCIPS Chief Inspector Martin Bodden, Jr. has acknowledged receipt of the complaint and promised to notify Mr. Evans about the outcome of his unit’s investigation.

Operation Tempura — the code name given to UK-led investigations into alleged misconduct and corruption within the RCIPS — began in September 2007 in Cayman. In the following two years, the operation is estimated to have spent $10 million but has not secured criminal convictions against anyone.

Mr. Bridger was the operation’s senior investigating officer until April 2009. Mr. Coy was one of his chief investigators. Both men were initially employed by the UK Met police, but were eventually hired on consultant contracts with the Cayman Islands government in the spring of 2008, at which time they were legally considered RCIPS special constables.

Mr. Bridger left Cayman in April this year, and Mr. Coy followed shortly after in May.

What recourse RCIPS would have to discipline Messrs. Bridger and Coy, who no longer live full-time in Cayman and who are no longer employed by the Cayman Islands government, is unclear. If the complaint is found to have alleged criminal activity, those concerns would have to be investigated and brought before a court.

The Caymanian Compass attempted to contact the Operation Tempura team to obtain a statement for an article about the complaint.

A visit to the team’s operating headquarters last week found the front office above the former Fort Street Market (now Cafe del Sol) appeared to be empty. There was no furniture, no computers and no other office equipment visible from the doorway.

A man who met the Compass at the front door of the office refused to identify himself, barred access to the office and said he couldn’t answer any questions about Operation Tempura or its off-shoot investigation, Operation Cealt.

Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines has refused repeated requests to answer any questions about the status of the former Operation Tempura team or the Operation Cealt team.

Operation Tempura was drawn to a close following the acquittal of Deputy Cayman Islands Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon on criminal charges of misconduct and doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice. Mr. Dixon’s matter was the final criminal proceeding conducted under the Tempura heading.

However, a number of complaints – approaching 70 – had been filed with the Operation Tempura office and eventually placed under a different code name, Operation Cealt. These were public complaints mainly dealing with alleged misconduct against police officers.

Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks said last week that those complaints were now strictly under the purview of Commissioner Baines. Mr. Ebanks said he did not know whether any officers on the former Operation Tempura investigating team had been retained here in Cayman to continue work on Operation Cealt.