Commissioner of Police David Baines gave an informative presentation to Chamber members on 26 January at the first BE INFORMED presentation of the year. The Commissioner updated the group on crime statistics and the strategies being implemented by the RCIPS in its fight against local crime.
Commissioner Baines commented that 2010 had been a turbulent time in relation to crime noting that gang and gun related crime had spiralled to levels never before seen in the Cayman Islands, even though the total crime increase was only just over four per cent for the year as a whole.
When comparing 2008 to 2010, RCIPS numbers show there were 81 more serious crimes reported in 2010; an increase of about 11 per cent. Some crimes however saw a drop in 2010 including burglaries, assaults, woundings and murders, which dropped by one case from the previous year.
Drugs-related crimes were a major concern. RCIPS officers made far fewer arrests for drugs in 2010 than in 2009 or 2008. Commissioner Baines reported that this was partly due to a change in police strategy and partly due to staff adjustments that had left the police drugs task force with fewer people. He said RCIPS is spending more time investigating drug supply chains and less time looking to arrest street level dealers.
Commissioner Baines told the Chamber audience that, while Cayman is having its difficulties with crime, we still compare very favourably to countries like Jamaica and Guyana over the past year. He said that Northwood Prison is full and the courthouse has a backlog of cases, both of which are a result of successful RCIPS activity. The room was also informed that 12 police officers had recently completed a Senior Investigation Course and 12 more were to follow the next week.
The commissioner also felt it had become “very easy” in recent times to criticise the police service and dramatise incidents of crime for use as newspaper headlines. He encouraged the press to be more precise in their reporting and carefully consider the impact of so many negative headlines especially when Cayman still remains a relatively safe place to live and work. He commented that “blogs are becoming somewhat of a gladiator sport and facts are being lost” and that “we are becoming comfortable in our negativity.” Pledging that the RCIPS will work harder and smarter alongside the community and its partners, he confirmed that there is “no lack of commitment” from the RCIPS, and that he understood that “this is not just about law enforcement – this is about our children’s future.”
Steps being taken by the RCIPS in crime prevention strategy:
Devoting significant resources of investigative, operational and intelligence analysts to tackle this emerging and worrying crime trend.
Enhanced intelligence-led, operational, strategic and tactical deployment of resources.
Capacity building – experienced police officers and other specialists in various police disciplines have been enlisted to support the already overstressed resources.
Information and intelligence gathering and sharing among the other domestic law enforcement agencies through the Joint Intelligence Unit.
Active targeting of prolific offenders – involves confronting and stop-searching suspects when seen on the streets – and other tactics, which will not be subject to discussion.
The next BE INFORMED presentation is scheduled for 25 May at the Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Centre in Governors Square. The presentation topic will be the newly proposed Employment Law changes; in particular plans regarding the minimum wage.