Most respondents to a recent poll by the police say the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service does not do a good job at reducing and preventing crime. Even after crimes are committed, most respondents said police do a “poor” or “very poor” job at keeping victims apprised of the status of a case. Respondents to the survey said frontline officers need to get out of their cars and engage more with community members.
“The information we have received from the public is helping us to shape our strategic priorities and objectives for the coming years. At the same time our initial analysis is already directing allocation of resources. It is also focusing attention on the need for improvement in areas such as: burglary reduction, community engagement and keeping victims of crime better informed of progress on the investigation of their cases,” said Police Commissioner David Baines.
Among the steps police say they will take in response to the survey’s finding will be to increase foot patrols of frontline police officers and purchase speed detection radars.
The RCIPS conducted the online survey over five weeks in September and October and almost 750 people from Grand Cayman and the sister islands participated.
More than half of respondents said police did a “poor” or “very poor” job reducing violent crimes like assault, robbery and homicide. Only about 8 percent rated police performance in this category as “good” or “very good.”
The police scored even lower when they asked how participants would rate the service in reducing non-violent crimes – less than 5 percent rated the police as doing a “good” or “very good” job.
When asked how they rated police at solving crimes, more than 70 percent rated the RCIPS at “fair” or worse.
RCIPS Chief Superin-tendent Kurt Walton, who is in charge of police operations, said, “We’ve held meetings this year across all districts as part of our commitment to engage the community directly and hear their concerns. We have also implemented processes such as commanders contacting victims of crime for feedback, and will continue to look for areas where we can do better.”
Mr. Walton added: “We undertook the survey knowing that there would be criticism of the RCIPS, but we are determined to improve the quality of our services and the performance and professionalism of our officers.”
Survey participants said they wanted more traffic enforcement and better street lighting. Police representatives said the department included funding in next year’s budget for more speed detection radars. They also said concerns with street lighting have been passed to the Public Works Department to look into possible improvements.
When is come to the statement “The police are usually courteous,” respondents were split with about 45 percent saying they “agree” or “strongly agree” and the same number saying they “disagree” or “strongly disagree.”
More than 60 percent of participants said they disagreed with the statement: “In general, Cayman Islands police officers treat all citizens equally according to the law.” RCIPS plans to survey businesses later this year and then another follow up survey for community members next year to gauge performance.