New officers coming from UK
Attempting to bolster a police
force that’s been working overtime in recent weeks, Royal Cayman Islands Police
Commissioner David Baines said Tuesday that he was seeking the temporary assistance
of more than a dozen veteran police officers to help with criminal investigations.
The temporary officers will not make
up a special police team to take out crime on Cayman’s streets, as has
previously been suggested.
Rather, Mr. Baines said he hoped to
bring two senior investigating officers, two office managers and about 10
police detectives to help take the load off the RCIPS Criminal Investigation Department.
“It not about bringing an armed
SWAT team in,” he said.
RCIPS investigators have, in recent
days, netted a total of five murder arrests, three attempted murder arrests
with charges filed in the case, three arrests for an armed robbery and a total
of four arrests in connection with an abduction for ransom investigation. Two
men have since been charged in the ransom case.
The arrests come following five
killings that have occurred on Grand Cayman
since the beginning of the year – three of which happened within the past
Mr. Baines said Tuesday that the
additional officers were not being brought in to replace local RCIPS staff, but
were merely so the current police team could “get a breather”.
“We have competent detectives on
the Islands, but they’re too few for the
number of murder investigations we’re running,” the commissioner said.
In the longer term, the police
service does plan to bring in veteran investigators from outside the Cayman Islands to permanently staff the police force. But
the commissioner said recruiting individuals with the proper expertise takes
time – likely a few months in this case.
Commissioner Baines said the RCIPS
budget would shoulder the cost of the temporary officers when they are brought
in, which he hopes can be done within the next couple of weeks. He said the
police service has about 45-50 vacancies, so covering the incoming temporary
officers should be relatively affordable.
If more financing was needed, Mr.
Baines said he would approach Governor Duncan Taylor’s office.
Governor Taylor said he is looking
at a more comprehensive national crime strategy based on suggestions offered
from members of the Cayman Islands community,
as well as the recently formed National Security Council.
Among the issues being examined
were how to identify at risk youth in the Cayman Islands,
tightening current immigration security policies, a gang reduction strategy,
prison reform – including the ability to restrict inmates’ communications with
the outside world, and updating legislation to assist police and the courts system.
Mr. Taylor said he hoped to have a
draft of the crime strategy made public within the next few months following
further discussions with the Security Council.
Specifically, Mr. Taylor said law
enforcement officials would be looking at profiling individuals from jurisdictions
that are considered “higher risk” and those that do not have robust criminal
background check systems.
The governor also said he wanted to
start up a public relations campaign aimed at informing young people about
gangs and the risks inherent in that lifestyle.
“I think it’s a pretty brutal and
pretty miserable life in the main,” Mr. Taylor said.
In the court system, Mr. Taylor
said the attorney general’s office would look into the possibility of changing
the law to requiring judge-alone trials for certain offences. Right now,
criminal defendants are allowed to opt for trial by jury or judge alone in most
serious criminal cases.
The governor said the judge alone
requirement would likely involve firearms trials where “there is an actual
threat to jury members”.