Police Commissioner David Baines kicked off a recruitment drive for Caymanian police officers Wednesday.
“We are looking for people who have a commitment to serve their community [and] to help in making the communities in the islands as safe as possible. The difference in this application is that it is specifically geared to Caymanians and permanent residents with the right to work,” Commissioner Baines said.
The recruitment process will run throughout April. Once new recruits sign up, there will be a 16-week training process run by training manager Inspector Kevin Ashworth.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is also trying to encourage more women to join, according to Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis.
The aim of the recruitment drive is to increase the number of local officers by 15. There are currently 390 officers in the force, 171 of whom are Caymanian.
Caymanians between the ages of 18 and 40 who are physically fit are being invited to apply for posts as police officers.
The starting salary is $31,272 per year, increasing to $42,096, depending on applicants’ skill sets, which may enable them to start at a higher level. A 12 percent pension contribution and medical coverage are included in the package. As of July, these figures will go up by 4 percent, Commissioner Baines said.
The commissioner acknowledged that some Caymanians on the police service remain at a lower salary than their non-Caymanian counterparts, a situation he acknowledged is “gravely unfair,” and one which he is trying to rectify.
He said he had approached the issue with government and with the head of the Civil Service, Franz Manderson.
“We have people who have joined this service, sometimes 10 years or more ago, and they were put on a set point on their appointment,” he said. “Since then, various moratoriums have been put in place, so you actually get a discrimination against some of our local officers, who are left on the point they were appointed on.”
He added that the RCIPS at times recruits externally for officers with certain skill sets and “maybe that we have to pay a premium for officers coming in … they have an asset recovery or financial crimes background or whatever the skill set is and we have to pay the given rate because we cannot attract those people at the starting point.”
He said the existing moratorium “does not allow [the starting point] to be moved on.”
“It is unfair,” the commissioner said. “We have been trying to move it forward. For me, I would welcome the opportunity to remove that moratorium to give me the same budget that will allow me, in fairness, to actually allocate pay rises to balance this so fairness is across the board.”
Deputy Commissioner Ennis, assisting the recruitment drive, said it is important for the police service to build up the numbers of local officers, so they could be a strong presence within the service.
“We are currently running with about 45 percent of local officers within the organization, and we are encouraging local applicants to look at the police service as a worthwhile career,” he said. Mr. Ennis said the police service was fortunate to recruit 12 applicants from the Cayman Islands last year, of which 11 were Caymanians and one a permanent resident. Of those 12, all remain in the police service.
The application process will be extended if suitable candidates cannot be found locally, Commissioner Baines said.
Last year, he said, police received 1,200 applications for the 15 jobs available.
Police Constable Patricia Sevik, who was among the 15 recruits in the 2013-2014 intake, said she changed careers because she wanted something that was challenging yet rewarding.
”I went from teaching to police [service] and my last year has been a wonderful experience. I have learned so much … [I] get to interact with people and get to bring justice to people. It is just an amazing career and I would not change any choice I made,” she said.
Visit servicercips.ky/careers for more details.