Just six local recruits have joined the latest Royal Cayman Islands Police Service cadet class, with an expected graduation date in May.
Typically, RCIPS recruit classes have between 12 and 15 members, although not all will make it through the four-month training course. Recent recruiting classes have fielded as few as 10 candidates.
According to a police press release issued Tuesday, three other individuals who had expressed interest in joining the RCIPS turned down their offers “due to the salary level.” The candidates not accepting the positions include a teacher and two accountants.
The five men and one woman who accepted offers to join the training course range in age between 18 and 35, and are from professional backgrounds that include banking and hospitality, as well as criminal justice.
“Recruiting local officers is a primary goal for the RCIPS,” Police Commissioner Derek Byrne said Monday. “While we would have liked a larger local recruit class this year, I am encouraged by the enthusiasm and intelligence evident in our new recruits.”
A total of 114 applications were received for the cadet class. Recruitment began last September.
The current pay scale for RCIPS officers has been a recruiting challenge for years. Former Commissioner David Baines tried to boost officers’ pay by declining to fill 30 vacant police officer jobs in exchange for $3,000 to $5,000 annual pay increases for some officers.
Mr. Baines acknowledged that the department had also suffered from the same pay disparity issues as the rest of the civil service, with longer-serving members of the force earning less than new hires.
“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,” Mr. Baines said in 2015. “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.”
Mr. Baines said RCIPS “pays a premium for certain specialist officers it recruits outside of Cayman. “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.