The Royal Cayman Islands
Police Service last week changed the way it provides information about crimes
and other significant incidents to the public and the press.
According to the new
RCIPS policy, information about crimes or other major events that occur outside
of normal business hours will be provided only between 8.30am and 5pm on
weekdays, hours when the department’s press
liaison is working.
For the last several
months, RCIPS had directed after-hours press calls to the on-duty inspector at
George Town Police Station. Those inspectors were also proactively emailing
press releases to media contacts on various incidents.
Prior to the
implementation of that system, the press liaison office – essentially a
one-person operation – was fielding all media calls at all hours.
“The decision to issue
information to the media during normal working hours has not been taken
lightly,” read a statement issued Thursday by RCIPS spokesperson Janet Dougall.
“It has been taken to ensure that we only issue information at the right time;
when all of the facts surrounding any incident have been verified.”
The statement also added
that all efforts would be taken to comply with the “wishes of the (crime)
victim and in line with our duty to victim care”.
The Caymanian Compass
contacted managers at the TV station, Radio Cayman, Rooster FM and online
Cayman News Service. All of those organisations stated they had not been
consulted by the police service prior to the change in policy.
The Compass was not
contacted, either; it was told about the change in policy informally last
Monday by a police inspector.
“We in the RCIPS value
our relationship with the media,” said the statement issued by the police on
On certain occasions –
depending on the incident – information about crimes will be given outside of
“That decision will be
made on a case-by-case basis,”
Mrs. Dougall said.
Although the RCIPS
statement did not specifically note this, it was understood that some crime
scene information that gets out immediately following an event is not always
100 per cent accurate. Also, most RCIPS inspectors and sergeants do not have
any particular experience or training in public relations or media
Mrs. Dougall said there
was no particular concern about those officers releasing incorrect information.
However, she said issues concerning what information should or should not be
released sometimes become a bone of contention after the fact.
“The decision about the
timing of any release is based on the needs of the investigation as well as the
accuracy and the appropriateness of the information available,” she said.
When the usual media
liaison is not available, RCIPS Business Manager Peter Davis will fill that
role, police said.
The police service
earlier this year decided it would not release the names of individuals who
have been charged with crimes. Those suspects are normally identified in court.
officials did meet with media representatives to discuss identification and
photographing of suspects who come before the court. However, according to
representatives who attend that meeting, there was no discussion or agreement
with police about no longer naming those individuals.
Robbery reports delayed
Two restaurants were hit
by robbers Thursday night, according to reports from witnesses, which the Royal
Cayman Islands Police Service confirmed some 16 hours after the incidents.
The first robbery was
reported around 6.20pm Thursday at the Domino’s Pizza on Mary Street, George
According to witness
reports, the robbers got away with some cash after threatening store workers.
On Wednesday, two
suspects – one of them armed – had attempted to rob the store but were foiled
by the restaurant’s security system.
It was not immediately
clear if the same suspects were involved in both the Wednesday and Thursday
crimes at Domino’s, but a similar description of suspects was given in both
Shortly after the
Domino’s heist, a car believed to have been used by the suspects was recovered
on Eastern Avenue. Police said it had been stolen from the Cayman Islands
Hospital parking lot Thursday morning.
Another robbery on
Thursday was reported at Alfresco restaurant in West Bay around 8pm.
According to sources who
spoke to the Caymanian Compass on condition of anonymity, two customers and a
chef inside the restaurant were robbed.
Both suspects were
armed, and according to witnesses, they were described as being about 5’10”
with slim builds; one with a fair complexion, one with a dark complexion. Both
covered their faces with shirts.
It was not known if the
two robberies on Thursday were connected. No arrests had been reported by press