Editorial for February 18: RCIPS has much hard work to do

In a caycompass.com online poll last week, readers were asked to grade the Royal Cayman Islands Police Services. We don’t know if the RCIPS hierarchy, the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs or the governor pay attention to our polls, but perhaps they should take note of the results of this one.

More than 61 per cent of the 555 respondents graded the RCIPS either poor or failing. Equally noteworthy, only about 12 per cent of those participating in the poll graded Cayman’s police force good or excellent.

It’s true the caycompass.com poll is nonscientific and there are no limitations on who can participate in the poll, except that only one vote can come from any one computer.

It’s also true that after the poll came out, there were some high-profile crimes committed.

Regardless, the results of the poll are very disturbing and, when coupled with many of the comments made by poll respondents, show a general lack of confidence in the RCIPS.

The grading reflects more than just the public’s frustration with the inability of the police to solve many crimes. Several of the comments questioned the competence of police officers, while other comments – which we did not publish because of a lack of substantiation – suggested even bigger problems.

Having a police force that doesn’t have the public’s confidence just magnifies Cayman’s crime troubles.  If the public felt confident the RCIPS could find and arrest the perpetrators of crimes, there wouldn’t be so much fear of crime. And if the perpetrators feared they would be found and arrested, perhaps they would not commit the crimes in the first place.

As some of our poll respondents pointed out, preventing and solving crimes is not just the role of the police; they need help from the public and funding from government.  But both of those things are difficult to get unless the public and government have faith that the police will use those resources competently. Right now, the RCIPS has work to do to earn that missing faith.

1 COMMENT

  1. And it certainly does not help their image when a serious complaint to the Professional Standards Unit takes 15 months, and an FOI request for a progress update, to produce a memo stating that, because the two officers concerned are no longer members of the RCIPS and have left the islands, no investigation will take place.

    The reply did not even state the specific legal grounds under Cayman Islands Law for the decision, it just gave a general excuse for not proceeding.

    There is a clear message here – do what you like but, as long as you get off the Cayman Islands before the proverbial hits the fan, nothing will happen – and that attitude needs to be changed.

    If the RCIPS wants public respect, they need to clean up their internal investigation procedures. Elaborate fishing exercises, such as the polygraphing of officers, may look good in the press but if actual professional standards complaints are not quickly and properly investigated the public are entitled to assume that the police are not taking policing themselves seriously.

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