has seen four robberies at local banks since February 2010, which might not
sound like a lot compared to many other countries. However, it’s one more than
this country has seen in the two previous decades.
examined by the Caymanian Compass show that Cayman National Bank branches were
robbed in 1989 1994, and 2006.
February last year, another Cayman National Bank branch in Savannah was robbed,
followed by a hold-up in September at Fidelity Bank on Dr. Roys Drive in George
Town, and another heist in November at the Compass Centre Butterfield Bank.
just before noon, armed robbers struck First Caribbean in Plaza Venezia on
North Sound Road. Police said the suspects didn’t take anything from the bank,
but two customers were robbed and witnesses said a security guard was held at
Commissioner David Baines said earlier this year that police have visited every
bank on Grand Cayman to review security procedures and provide tips on how to
improve customer and employee safety.
styles reflect US models, namely, there is an open [area] between the customer
part and the back…where you can jump over, gain access to tellers and bring
immediate threat to individuals,” Mr. Baines said during a two-hour meeting
with the Chamber of Commerce earlier in the year. “Of course, what we don’t
have here [are] armed guards that in the US they do.
“Some of you
who’ve been to the UK will see a very different style where there’s no way you
can get access from the public sphere into the back house,” he said. “There’s
different means by which we design out [crime] based on the style of our
security on the Island and the threats we face.”
Thursday’s robbery, according to witnesses, a security guard stationed outside
the First Caribbean branch was accosted by two armed men who forced him inside
the bank through the front door. Neither that guard nor the one inside was
armed, as security officers typically are not in the Cayman Islands.
commenting on local websites, including the Caymanian
Compass, have widely differing opinions on the subject of armed guards.
commenting on Thursday’s www.caycompass.com story wrote: “Thugs know full well
they can hold up businesses, individuals, etc and get away with it. What is the
logic of having unarmed security guards when the criminals themselves are
not like the idea of having armed security officers: “Arming the security
guards is a waste of time unless they are properly vetted. I, for one, don’t
want some chump from any of the security firms to have a firearm.”
Baines urged Chamber of Commerce members to notify police immediately at the
first sign of anything untoward happening inside or immediately outside a bank.
say we’d rather you call us at the first point of any suspicion rather than
something having taken place,” Mr. Baines said. “I don’t think we’ll ever get
to the issue, if you think about the number of banks, where we’re going to have
a dedicated armed officer able to respond within two minutes to any sort of
bank incident that’s taking place.”
In any case,
police officers who do respond to the scene of a bank robbery and find
customers and staff inside with armed suspects will face a dilemma, the
offender is in a bank, the determination of policing action is to be determined
by the first officer and their first priority is the safety of the public,
secondly their own safety, and then the safety of the offender,” Mr. Baines
said. “So you don’t go in blazing because you end up with collateral damage.
Normally, the goal is containment, talk it out.
“We are not
averse to actually taking very direct action, and if it means shooting an
offender who fails to comply with a clear direction on the possession of a
firearm, then somebody is going to get shot and probably is going to get shot
dead. There is no reluctance on the part of the police to undertake that.”
officers were on the scene of Thursday’s robbery within minutes of it taking
place, although the suspects had fled by that time.
said local banks have been working with the police and that many have heeded
the additional security advice.
we’ve been going through with banks has been very much about looking at each
estate, what the security is, and how we can compliment it or better still, how
the banks can make differences,” he said. “If you go to Butterfield [in
Governors Square], instead of having two open doors, there’s one that’s locked
now and…security guards are positioned differently in the bank. There’s even an
airlock they could use if they wanted to do that to slow down suspected
Caribbean Managing Director Tom Crawford said the bank would continue to review
and update security measures “based upon ever changing threats” across the