Massively increased traffic enforcement, additional anti-gang training and the internal monitoring of criminal suspect “top 10” lists are all part of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s three-year public safety plan.
The proposal, released Monday, also seeks to establish “performance targets” for things such as officer response time to incidents, continued monitoring of criminal investigations, and updating victims to the extent possible on progress.
Police Commissioner Derek Byrne said the next three years would be a period of “significant change” for the RCIPS, as it modernizes to meet the needs of a globalized crime-fighting environment.
“This is a formidable challenge where we must review and change the way we conduct our business in order to respond to the many competing and complex demands from a 21st century perspective,” Mr. Byrne said in an opening statement attached to the report.
The police plan puts significant emphasis on gang-busting activities in a society which, just over 10 years ago, did not formally acknowledge the existence of such criminal organizations.
The plan calls for the establishment of a dedicated team of investigators to probe gang activities, supported by community policing officers who develop profiles of the criminal street gangs operating within their “beat” areas.
All RCIPS “frontline” staff members are due to receive “gang-sensitization” training by Sept. 30. In addition, four police officers will be selected and trained to bring anti-gang education efforts into local schools.
Community police “beat” officers, of which there are now 27, including the department’s commander, will be expected to handle at least one “anti-gang” education event per month in their area, according to the plan.
Community policing officers will also be responsible for security reviews with school principals. Some of these meetings may have been held already.
The officers will also seek to establish neighborhood watches in each community police beat by the end of 2018.
The RCIPS has set goals for its officers’ response time to incident reports, of which they received more than 33,000 via the 911 center during 2017.
The goal is to “reduce emergency response times to five minutes in urban areas and 10 minutes in rural areas,” the policing plan states. The response times will be monitored on a weekly basis via random sampling.
In addition to reactive responses to 911 calls, police officers will be monitored by senior managers on their continued contact with victims of crime in various investigations.
For instance, there is one requirement to update all incident report complaints “on [the] investigative process” within 24 hours of the report and “regularly thereafter at two-weekly intervals or as needed.” The police are also instituting a “random call-back” procedure to a minimum of 25 percent of their complainants each work shift or each business day by station supervisors.
As part of the anti-gang enforcement, the policing plan suggests that an internal top-ten list of criminal organizations be maintained and updated each month.
In addition, a top-ten list of robbery suspects will be maintained and “included in all tactical assessments” for 2018.
Each police community “beat” will keep track of suspects identified as “habitual burglars” via a list that is to be updated every two weeks.
The anti-crime plan puts a heavy emphasis on burglaries generally, requiring a weekly report of burglaries to be submitted to Superintendant Peter Lansdown. The RCIPS website is also tracking monthly burglar reports across Grand Cayman, and providing the public with that information.
A substantial increase in roadblocks and rush-hour traffic checks has already been noted across Grand Cayman, but the police plan for 2018 is to increase that further.
The plan calls for a “20 percent increase in traffic enforcement over 2017,” and for at least one major traffic enforcement operation to be conducted per month.
An overall traffic policing plan is due to be produced by the end of this month. The police public relations office is expected to produce multiple road safety releases and media communications each month.
Community policing officers will also be expected to carry out one traffic safety education presentation per month.
The policing plan puts a great deal of emphasis on community or neighborhood policing in a number of areas identified, Mr. Byrne’s report noted.
“This approach removes the gap between the intentions of the police and the expectations of the community,” the plan states. “Instead of coming into communities to tell them what the problems are and what they will be doing, the police seek to become part of the community. Problems are owned by the community and not the police alone.”