Customs and immigraion recruits gather for a group photo of the Class of 2018.

Twelve new customs officers began their basic training last week after joining the service following a recruitment drive.

The recruits are undergo ing 18 weeks of training, which will include the relevant laws and conventions, investigative techniques, arrest and exhibit handling procedures, revenue, and ethics in law enforcement.

In preparation for the planned 2019 merger of the customs and immigration departments into a single Border Protection Agency, both departments have embarked on a strategy to cross-train customs and immigration officers, according to a government press release. Consequently, four new immigration officers have joined their customs colleagues on this course.

In his address to the Class of 2018 on June 4, Collector of Customs Charles Clifford said, “I am particularly pleased that we were able to attract well over 300 applications during this last recruitment drive and that the 12 new customs officers which emerged from that competitive process collectively bring with them a good combination of skills, qualifications and experience that will benefit the department and ultimately the public.”

He said the group includes four former police officers with law enforcement experience, stating, “This will no doubt enhance the learning opportunities for the class and benefit the organization as a whole.”

Joint training

Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith said that while joint training initiatives involving customs and immigration officers are not new, immigration officers taking part in the customs basic training course marks a momentous occasion and “signals the beginning of a planned strategy to introduce a single entity at the borders in the Cayman Islands.”

He added, “Similarly, there will be cross-training and sensitization opportunities in Entry and Landing and other border control techniques and applications.”

The recruits are expected to graduate in August.