Editorial for 01 October: Good crime-fighting, bad PR

More often than not in recent months, we at
the Caymanian Compass have found ourselves congratulating the Royal Cayman
Islands Police Service on Page 4, rather than criticising it.

At least in part, today’s editorial is no
exception. Crime statistics regarding the half-year mark released by police
appear to be extremely encouraging.

We’re sure there will be the rampant
conspiracy theories about how police are “covering up” actual reports of crime
from the public and so forth. Of course, we would ask anyone who has any
credible evidence of that, please bring it to our attention.

For now, we’ll give the local police a
hearty round of applause on lowering crime 13 per cent for the year.

However, it seems all we’ve heard from the
public of late regarding the police service is complaints about how the service
is dealing with citizen concerns and the discipline of its own officers.

This is a subject we’ve written about many
times in both the Compass and the Observer on Sunday and, in our view, it has
roundly been ignored by the police department.

There must be a professional, effective and
transparent process at the police department for 1) handling of public
complaints, and 2) dealing with internal disciplinary matters that serves both
the needs of officers and the department.

If one or both areas are allowed to lag, it
will – and indeed probably already has – handicap the police service’s efforts
moving forward, including its ability to fight crime.


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  1. In the past, like many others, I was most concerned about the level of crime in Cayman and very critical of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s failure to get the situation under control.

    Today, I heartily join with the Caymanian Compass in congratulating the RCIPS for lowering crime by 13 percent for the year. May the success continue.

    The half year statistics should be very encouraging news for both crime and non-crime victims alike. Our hope and expectation at this point is that the trend will continue as we begin to breathe a sigh of relief.

    Regarding the matter of how the service is addressing the public’s concerns and the disciplining of officers, I concur with the Editorial’s 2-pronged approach. If such measures are not adopted, then the success of reducing crime could be in great jeopardy or possibly wiped out. God forbid that the island should go back to the earlier times.

  2. I would be very wary of heaping too much praise on the RCIPS at this stage for several reasons:
    Firstly, we need to see a sustained, long term, fall in crime.
    Secondly, if confidence in the police is low it is true that less crime is reported – why bother if you don’t think the local police will be able to do anything about it?
    Thirdly, in a small jurisdiction, getting one or two prolific criminals off the streets will lead to a short term reduction in crime. Where I live, it is estimated that 70% of crime is committed by 10% of criminals – the more you target that 10% the more you significantly eat into that 70%. Therefore, if the RCIPS has removed one or two of the worst offenders from the streets there will be a reduction.
    Well done the RCIPS but it doesn’t mean they are increasingly effective, it just means they have been effective these past few months. Or it means less people have confidence in the RCIPS so less crime is reported.