Editorial for February 3: Pay police more

We at the Caymanian Compass have made some fairly strong comments in the past few months on this editorial page over pay raises provided to dozens of public servants during times of national austerity.

This has led to some sore feelings and a lot of debate over the issue, even some calls for investigation of the pay increases.

We’re going to take another strong position today, but we believe this one is something almost everyone will agree with.

This country should pay its police officers more than it does today.

In reviewing the dozens of pay increments given to Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers since March, it became evident that these people who put their lives on the line to protect Cayman don’t get paid much for it.

The vast majority of the RCIPS employees listed on the information presented to the Compass earn $40,000 per year or less.

In some societies, that might be considered pretty decent pay for a cop, but in Cayman – even at today’s falling rent prices – is it probably not enough to attract the quality of individuals needed for this crucially important position in society. And in these times of rising crime, it is important to have high-quality police officers to deal with it.

Most people don’t go into policing because they expect to make a lot of money. But the government should do its best to ensure that certain jobs have good candidates applying, particularly those that are our front-line of defence against the criminals that would seek to steal our security and way of life.

Often statements are made that there aren’t enough young Caymanian police officers. Given the choice of earning $35,000 per year, working 12-hour shifts, receiving criticism from the public and getting shot at by the criminals as opposed to sitting in a nice, air-conditioned office, driving a nice, new car and earning $70,000 per year, it’s easy to see why police recruitment is challenging.

We like to complain about the police a lot, but as a society we need to make sure the police can attract high-quality candidates for this vital job.