Today’s Editorial for December 23: Back to school

For at least the past decade, politicians have repeatedly argued that the key to correcting many of Cayman’s social ills is providing a better public education.

Although not all of Cayman’s troubles could be solved by a better education, we agree that it is a vital element of the progress equation. It is therefore pleasing to learn the hierarchy of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service agrees.

Police Commissioner David Baines told those attending the police recruit graduation ceremony last week that going forward, police recruits will be enrolled in the University College of the Cayman Islands. The idea is that the training will lead to the attainment of academic qualifications for the recruits.

It is no secret that the Royal Cayman Islands Police has had difficulties in the past in carrying out some of its required functions, specifically when it came to duties that required academic skills.

In addition, there have been instances in the past where it was obvious that certain officers hadn’t studied the law.

By requiring officers to attend college-level courses, they will not only learn about the intricacies of their profession, but they will also learn to think in a more organised and logical fashion.

The fact is police officers should be well educated. They should be able to think quickly in critical situations; they should be able to weigh situations using knowledge of possible outcomes; they should know how to read, write and use mathematics to a certain degree of proficiency; and, very importantly, they need to know the law.

Requiring the attainment of set academic qualifications will not only lead to better educated officers, it will most likely lead to smarter officers. This in turn will lead to more successful police investigations, less instances of court dismissals due to shoddy police work and a higher level of public confidence in the police.

All of this is a very good thing.