Police are contemplating asking business owners to pay compensation when officers are repeatedly called out to false alarms.
New Superintendent of Uniform and District Operations Robert Graham says the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is looking into an American-style system of charging repeat offenders for the use of police time and resources.
“I wholly understand that we should be attending (alarm calls),” Superintendent Graham said, “but we are getting so many repeat false alarms for burglaries, we are in a position where we are seriously looking at getting reimbursement for false alarms.”
He said the demands on police officers were already significant and a lot of time and attention was being wasted.
He added that a system of mandatory charges would convince people to repair equipment or improve their systems to cut down on false alarms.
“This is happening in a whole range of jurisdictions,” he said. “I think it is just common practice in America. If officers are continually called to the same location for a false alarm, we should at some point be looking at financial recourse for the payment of the officers’ time.”
The City of Orlando’s False Alarm Reduction Program is one example of how such systems work in the U.S.
The city ordinance requires all alarm systems to be registered with the police. A system of fees is levied for repeated false alarms.
For residential accounts, there is a sliding scale of fees, starting from no charge for the first three false alarms in a 12-month period and rising to $100 per false alarm for seven or more false alarms within the time period. A similar fee system with slightly different thresholds is in place for businesses.
Superintendent Graham said the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is exploring options for a similar system here.
The discussion is part of a wider drive to free up police to focus on crime and higher visibility policing in problem areas.
“Demands on the police service are pretty significant, as we all know,” Superintendent Graham said. “We want our officers to be doing the right thing at the right time and not being kind of taken aside and having to deal with stuff that perhaps other agencies should be responsible for.”