A new recruitment campaign began Friday to find the next generation of Caymanian police constables as senior officers acknowledged the number of locals on the force had fallen to less than 50 percent.
Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis said the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service now aims to run training camps for new Caymanian officers on an annual basis, in an effort to reverse that trend.
Candidates will be put through a series of physical and written tests and interviews before qualifying for the 16-week training program beginning in January. Those who complete the program will go on to a two-year probationary period before being signed off as competent police officers.
Mr. Ennis said the process was necessarily tough, the standards uncompromising and only those who were truly committed would make it.
‘Stringent training program’
Of the 283 applicants at last year’s intake, 166 met the entry criteria. Following testing and interviews, eight were accepted into the training program and seven completed it and are now working as constables on their probationary period.
“It is a very stringent, very exacting program,” said Mr. Ennis. “You have to meet the standards and if you don’t, you won’t be signed on as a police officer.
“My advice to applicants is to get themselves prepared. The tests are uncompromising.”
He said the police offered a tough but exciting and rewarding career with an opportunity to specialize in different areas, from K9 units to financial crime investigation.
Seventeen new officers emerged from recruitment drives and training programs, exclusively for Caymanians and residents with unrestricted permanent residence status, over the past two years. But, prior to that, police had not held a recruitment drive for five years, Mr. Ennis said.
He said the ratio of homegrown officers had traditionally hovered around 55 percent, compared with 45 percent from overseas. But those numbers have flipped in recent years.
“We should be having a proportionate representation of the community,” he said.
“We want a diverse police service, we also want a police service the Caymanian community can recognize.
“If the numbers are down to 45 percent and you don’t replenish the stock, in five years it is going to be further down.”
Despite ruling himself out for the commissioner’s job following the departure of Police Commissioner David Baines in late May, Mr. Ennis believes the rise through the ranks of people like himself and Kurt Walton, who will be the next deputy commissioner, and Inspector Leo Anglin, who runs the marine unit, can serve as inspiration and proof that Caymanians can make it to the highest levels in the service.
“Hopefully, one day, one of these guys we are recruiting might be the commissioner. Hopefully, they can see a future where they can be commissioner one day.”
He said potential police officers should have strong personal ethics and a “moral compass,” as well as a desire to serve their community.
‘At a crossroads’
“We are at a crossroads now where Cayman might be looking at the next surge of prosperity,” Mr. Ennis said. “There are reasons to be very optimistic about the future of Cayman. If there is anything that will threaten the prosperity of these islands, it is going to be crime. Cayman is known as a safe place to live work and invest.
“So if crime is going to threaten that prosperity and you are a Caymanian, this is … an opportunity to come and serve your country and help keep it a safe and prosperous place.”
Applicants for the 2017 recruit class must be aged between 18 and 40, be Caymanian or have permanent residence status with unrestricted rights to work.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson added, “I commend the acting commissioner for his commitment to increasing the number of Caymanians in the RCIPS. This is the third local recruitment exercise conducted in three years and past exercises have yielded excellent results.
I encourage Caymanians to take this opportunity to be part of the solution and to serve your community in a unique and special way.”