An intentionally set fire outside a George Town home early Sunday destroyed two vehicles and damaged part of a house belonging to a senior member of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
That officer, who was contacted by the Cayman Compass Monday, said they did not have any indication of why two vehicles the officer owned were set ablaze, damaging a third car and the home in the Ryan’s Retreat subdivision off Crewe Road.
The senior officer is not being identified by the Compass for security reasons.
“I am frightened for the life of my family,” said the officer, who said children live in the home where the cars outside were targeted. “I am scared that my kids are going to look at me and say … ‘I can’t live in my own house.’
“If anybody out there knows anything … I’m asking them to go forward and contact the police.”
The officer said they were unable to report to work Monday, “I don’t have a car!” they quipped, but said they intended to return to the RCIPS as soon as possible.
RCIPS officials did not report a motive for the incident, which occurred around 1 a.m. Sunday, but noted that it appeared an arsonist had struck. The officer said it appeared two vehicles were set on fire and the third one – belonging to a neighbor – was engulfed when the flames spread out of control.
No one was physically hurt in the incident.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, the RCIPS noted there had been no arrests in connection with the incident.
“We cannot comment on the linkage of this incident to other recent crimes, but can confirm that any and all lines of enquiry are being actively investigated,” the statement read. “Both the RCIPS and the Police Welfare Committee have offered assistance in the wake of this disturbing incident.
“Support to officers can take different forms depending on the kind of assistance needed, e.g., financial, counselling, etc. Appropriate security measures are being implemented for the officer, though we cannot detail what those are.
“This is a disturbing incident for the officer and for the RCIPS; it will be fully investigated to determine what occurred here and bring those responsible to justice. Such acts against an officer, or anyone else, cannot be tolerated.”
The RCIPS is appealing to anyone who witnessed this incident or have any information about it to contact George Town Police Station at 949-4222 or the police’s confidential tip line at 949-7777.
Attacks on police
There has been a concern noted regarding the increased level of violence against police officers within the past two years in the Cayman Islands.
In late 2016, into early 2017, several attacks by members of the public against RCIPS officers occurred.
There were three incidents reported in January 2017 where police officers were attacked or suffered injury while making arrests. Those assaults followed a December 2016 scuffle involving the head of the RCIPS traffic unit at a roadblock that broke two of the inspector’s teeth.
Police Commissioner Derek Byrne has said the RCIPS command “will not abide” these incidents.
“I’m seeing a lot of aggression, a lot of abuse [toward those officers],” Mr. Byrne said last year. “I read of machetes being produced towards officers, struggles taking place. These [officers] are the frontline defense coming to assist members of our community. We must challenge that fundamental relationship.”
To that end, the RCIPS has revitalized its community policing efforts, putting Inspector Courtney Myles in charge of the unit and pledging some 30 police officers toward the unit.