36-year Irish police veteran tapped to head up RCIPS

Derek Patrick Byrne, a 36-year veteran of Ireland’s National Police Service, has been selected as the new commissioner of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the Governor’s Office has announced. Mr. Byrne will join the RCIPS in November on a four-year contract.

Derek Byrne
Derek Byrne

Mr. Byrne currently is the assistant commissioner of “the guards” – as Ireland’s national police service is sometimes called – and has supervised operations and strategic command for serious and organized crime incidents for the last eight years.

The Dublin native joined the guards in 1979 and was appointed as assistant commissioner of national support services there in May 2007, according to the Irish national police website.

Mr. Byrne attended Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland and has trained with both the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation at Quantico, Virginia, and with Scotland Yard during his career. He also holds a diploma from the National College of Ireland in management and industrial relations.

In a press statement released Friday by the governor’s office, Mr. Byrne said it was a “great honor” to be selected to lead the RCIPS. Governor Helen Kilpatrick said she was glad to have “a distinguished police officer of Mr. Byrne’s caliber” heading the local police service.

“The complexity of policing leadership, by its very nature, brings with it great responsibility to lead with confidence, inspiration and integrity,” Mr. Byrne said Friday. “I am committed to ensuring that the RCIPS will work in partnership with communities across the Cayman Islands to deliver a policing service that has the trust and confidence of the communities it serves.

“Within my first month I will visit all of the Islands to meet with community leaders, community groups and business leaders to obtain a first-hand account of policing requirements on the Islands which will feed into and inform future strategic planning and the direction of the policing service.”

Mr. Byrne was selected from a final “short-list” of three candidates, which also included a British and an American candidate, the Cayman Compass has learned. There were no Caymanian applicants who made the final short-list, after Cayman’s two most senior ranking officers, Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis and Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton, said they hadn’t applied for the job. Mr. Ennis will lead the RCIPS as acting commissioner until Mr. Byrne arrives.

Mr. Byrne is the first non-U.K. and non-Caymanian police commissioner to serve the islands in recent times. The vast majority of Cayman’s former police commissioners have hailed from the U.K.

He replaces former Commissioner David Baines. Mr. Baines left the force May 31 after the territory’s governor decided a barrage of public criticism and “defamatory comments” against Mr. Baines had made his position “untenable.”

In Ireland, Mr. Byrne figured prominently in a commission investigation into a particular division of the national police force, An Garda Siochana, where he served.

The investigation resulted in a 363-page report by retired Irish high court judge Kevin O’Higgins who concluded the following about Mr. Byrne’s participation in the review:

“Assistant Commissioner Byrne gave evidence to the commission in a forthright, honest and helpful manner. He is a man of integrity and a highly competent member of An Garda Siochana, clearly committed to the good of the force. The commission is absolutely satisfied that the public can repose trust in him in the exercise of his duties.”