Police Commissioner Baines leads BVI corruption probe

Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines was announced last week as the new strategic leader of an anti-corruption investigation in the British Virgin Islands.  

According to the announcement, Mr. Baines has been appointed as the “Gold Commander” of Operation Lucan effective Feb. 11. The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force made the announcement on Friday.  

Operation Lucan is referred to in the BVI press as an investigation into allegations of corrupt acts committed by a small number of officers in the BVI police force.  

A BVI police press release indicated that Mr. Baines is tasked with ensuring there will be “a completely independent inquiry, avoiding any influences with the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.”  

RCIPS officials, including Mr. Baines, had not responded to emails or calls seeking comment by press time Monday. Cayman government officials, as well as the governor’s office, confirmed that Mr. Baines was on official leave and that RCIPS Deputy Commissioner Stephen Brougham would be filling in during his absence. The Cayman Islands governor’s office did not respond to questions by press time regarding Mr. Baines’s specific role in the BVI.  

Operation Lucan began in September 2014 when BVI Police Commissioner David Morris requested that the territorial governor and the BVI National Security Council contract an independent team to investigate various allegations against certain BVI police officers.  

Once approval for the probe was granted, Operation Lucan began on Nov. 10. The investigators involved reported directly at the outset to Commissioner Morris and the territory’s top prosecutor, according to various BVI news reports.  

However, things changed last week.  

“To facilitate the ongoing investigation and to allow for a completely independent inquiry, avoiding any influences within the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Commissioner Morris has now further requested that the governor and the National Security Council provide a change in the command structure and appoint an independent Gold Commander to work with the Director of Public Prosecutions to take strategic lead of the investigation,” the police statement read.  

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Mr. Baines
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  1. Will Mr. Baines be paid by the CIG while on ‘official leave’, how long is he expected to be out of the country, and how much of his time going forward will be dedicated to the BVI anti-corruption investigation? Also, while I am not suggesting that Mr.Baines has been a bad CoP, if he has the capacity to take on these additional responsibilities it might suggest that the RCIPS is overstaffed and the executive level and that there might be some room to make some strategic cuts at the top.

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  2. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

    RVIPF Commissioner David Morris left South Wales Constabulary in 2009 as an Assistant Chief Constable (ACC), the same rank that Commissioner Baines held on his retirement from Cheshire Constabulary in 2009. Like Baines, as an ACC one of his responsibilities was Professional Standards. Morris, again like Baines, was also active in the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

    Whilst I’m certain that Commissioner Baines will put these historical career similarities aside during the investigation quite what the people, and the media, of BVI will make of them remains to be seen.

    Last year BVINews ran a headline that read – POLICE FORCE STINKS – I’d expect to see more comments along this line in the coming weeks.

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