Officers address polygraphs, rights

The Royal Cayman Islands Police
officers association confirmed last week that some of its members have met with
Police Commissioner David Baines over officers being polygraph tested.

Polygraphs – often called lie
detector tests – were administered to several dozen police service employees
starting last year. In September, the Caymanian Compass reported that some 40
officers were given the tests.

It has never been made precisely
clear why those tests were given.

”It is not RCIPS policy to comment
on our vetting procedures,” read a statement from the commissioner’s
spokesperson that was issued in response to questions from the Compass last
year.

Both current and former police
officers who spoke with the Compass on background confirmed that the tests had
been administered to dozens of officers within the department and that a number
of those tests had been failed. Police department brass declined to respond to
questions regarding the specific numbers of those who had taken the polygraphs.

Some officers indicated that RCIPS
staffers had been told their positions with the department could be in jeopardy
if they refused to take the tests.

More recently, a few officers have
stated that they were unable obtain the results of polygraph tests they have
taken.

Police Association Chairman
Inspector Rudolph Gordon said Wednesday that some officers his group represents
had met privately with the commissioner to speak about the polygraph testing.
He said those meetings were generally one-on-one discussions between the
officer and the commissioner.

The commissioner’s office again
declined to discuss the testing or the meetings with the officers when
contacted by the Compass last week.

‘Disenfranchised’

Mr. Gordon said the police
association has continued regular meetings to bring up relevant issues with
Commissioner Baines since it was essentially formed anew last year.

Among those issues, he said, was
the current status of RCIPS officers under Cayman’s Public Service Management
Law – the legislation that governs the operation of government workers.

“Police officers are not considered
to be civil servants under this law, but the law continues to be cited and used
when addressing issues such as salary and other HR matters,” Mr. Gordon said.
“The association also finds it puzzling that, although police officers are
considered civil servants in some instances, they are not afforded the same or
similar privileges as their colleagues in the wider civil service.”

Mr. Gordon said in a statement that
police association membership often feels ‘disenfranchised’ and that many
labour issues involving officers go unresolved.

“This is due in part to the absence
of legislation to deal with other human resources issues, other than discipline
offences mentioned in the police law,” the statement read.

Further regulations attached to the
newly approved Police Law are expected to address some of these issues, Mr.
Gordon said.

In the meantime, the police
association’s committee has backed a review of the Public Service Management
Law “to address the rights and privileges of police officers within the Cayman
Islands”.

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