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.
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”.