The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has grown by nearly 10 percent since March 2017, according to figures provided following a Cayman Compass open records request.
Since last spring, the department has gone from 356 active officers, including auxiliary constables, to 390 officers as of February.
The numbers do not include 66 civilian employees, some of whom perform law enforcement roles, such as scenes of crime investigation or police intelligence analysis. They also do not include special constables, volunteer officers who perform various support roles for the police. There are 54 volunteer constables at present, but Commandant Chris Duggan said not all are “active” on the available roster.
With civilians and volunteers included, the number of people working for the RCIPS is well over 500.
The service said last week that recruitment efforts for both local and overseas police officers were under way and that more police would soon be joining the ranks.
“There are 11 constable recruits in the current class which should last until the end of May. In addition, eight auxiliary constables also recently finished their training,” [*] an RCIPS statement issued Thursday read.
“A new recruiting drive will be done later in the year, and once the group of new recruits from that drive is selected, the next class will begin early next year.”
Police continuously recruit for local cadet classes and will accept applications for the 2019 group at any time, officials said.
Although the number of police officers has increased within the past year, the RCIPS has yet to reach pre-2015 staffing levels when more than 400 uniformed officers worked at the department. As of 2015, the department had the budget to hire another 30 to 40 personnel, but then-Commissioner David Baines blamed “bureaucratic red tape” for preventing him from doing so.
By the time Commissioner Derek Byrne arrived in late 2016, the force had fallen to around 350 officers – fewer that the territory maintained a decade ago in 2007. A spate of hiring, mainly involving foreign officer recruits, has pushed the number to the current 390 uniformed officers.
Premier Alden McLaughlin has pledged to provide funding to hire another 75 police officers over the next three government budget years. If current staff levels are maintained during that time, the RCIPS will have about 450 officers by the end of 2020.
The additional officers promised by Mr. McLaughlin’s government do not represent the full number requested by Commissioner Byrne. Mr. McLaughlin said the original request “exceeded the available funding.”
By Feb. 8, of the 390 officers employed with the RCIPS, 211 were non-Caymanian and 179 were Caymanian. Among the civilian ranks, 45 employees were Caymanians and 21 were non-Caymanians.
The majority of officers employed in the RCIPS were either at the constable rank (258) or as auxiliary constables (47). Another 49 were employed at sergeant rank and 23 were police inspectors.
The RCIPS employed seven chief inspectors, three superintendents, two deputy commissioners and one commissioner as of last month.
[*] Editor’s note: Amends quote from the RCIPS.