Bogus information causes police headaches

False information that has been
circulated about either police operations or criminal investigations in the
past few weeks has forced the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to publicly
refute those reports.

Police said late last week that
these incidents are wasting officers’ and other RCIPS staff time since the
service has to look into some of the claims.

The most recent example happened
Friday afternoon when a series of text messages went around the Islands warning people about the locations of Friday
night roadblocks planned by the RCIPS.

According to a police spokesperson,
some of the information contained in the texts was incorrect.

“It is absolutely beyond belief
that the person responsible would attempt to use erroneous information to
suggest that he, or she, has inside knowledge of police operations; operations
which have been set up following the brutal murder of a four-year-old,” a
police department statement issued late Friday read.

RCIPS officers have increased the
number of traffic stops around Grand Cayman since last Monday’s tragic shooting
of Jeremiah Barnes at a West
Bay gas station. The boy
was killed when gunmen fired into his father’s vehicle, which was stopped at
the Hell Esso station.

“At a time when our resources are
required elsewhere, this behaviour and blatant attempt to hinder our operations
is extremely unhelpful,” the RCIPS statement said, referencing the roadblock
texts.

Earlier in the week, another apparently
false report was made that one of the five boaters who went missing in rough
seas during a January trip around Grand Cayman had been found alive in Cuba.

A police spokesperson said the
service was unable to determine that any contact with the family of missing
boater had taken place.

The RCIPS is also trying to run
down the source of a comment on the Facebook social networking Internet site,
which apparently identified two men as the suspects who were arrested in the 4
February bank robbery at Cayman National Bank in Countryside Shopping Centre.

Those two men named on the Facebook
page actually had nothing to do with the bank robbery, according to police.

“The unsubstantiated information,
which has allegedly been circulating on a certain social networking site, is
extremely unhelpful and could be perceived by the courts as being detrimental
to the on-going enquiry,” a separate police department statement read.

One of the men named on the web
page as a bank robbery suspect filed a complaint with RCIPS.

“Anyone who posts information on
these sites should be aware that defamation is a criminal offence in the Cayman Islands,” the RCIPS statement read.

There were two different men
arrested in connection with the bank heist who have since been released on
police bail pending further investigations. No charges had been filed at press
time against either of those men, so their names have not been released.