Editorial for June 24: More guns equal more training

It’s rare to see lawmakers from
differing sides in agreement on one issue.

But they are when it comes to
arming patrolling members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

Many of the legislators, from party
members to the one lone independent, believe that more police officers should
be armed with guns.

Independent North Side MLA Ezzard
Miller is so adamant about the issue that he threatened to refuse to vote on
the police service’s budget.

The problem comes in when we have
gun crimes, which have been prevalent on Grand Cayman this year and in the
recent past.

We do have armed police on duty –
four per shift, usually – and lawmakers were assured in the House Tuesday that
more officers with guns can be called upon if needed.

But in most cases that has been a
case of too little too late as unarmed officers have been in the background
while suspect fled.

The latest incident occurred in
Bodden Town when officers called to a robbery at Mostyn’s Esso had to wait
outside and follow the suspects after the crime had been committed.

For now that is RCIPS policy and
it’s unlikely to change any time soon.

We appreciate Police Commissioner
Baines’ sentiments that he does not want the Cayman Islands to appear to be
under control of an occupied force hampering officers’ attempts at collecting
information from the public in criminal investigations.

No, we don’t want our police to be
seen as a paramilitary force, but there has to be a happy medium between
perceived ineffective policing by armed officers and the lawmakers’ and
public’s concern over increased gun crimes and officers’ inability to intervene.

The answer, of course, is to arm
more police officers – not all, but a select few – to put them on duty along
with those who are already there.

But there must be training. We can
put as many guns in the hands of officers we want, but if they aren’t properly
trained, they will be more of a danger to themselves and the community than a
help.

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