Twenty-three local recruits were sworn as the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s Class of 2019 on Monday.

The class includes eight women and 15 men, ranging in age from 18 to 40, according to an RCIPS press release. More than half of the class, 14 members, are Caymanian.

“I am encouraged by the backgrounds and impressive experience in this recruit class, which is nearly three times larger than our class last year,” Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne was quoted as saying in the release.

He added, “It will be followed immediately by a second recruit class in May of equal size, which we are already in an advanced stage of selecting, and then by another recruitment campaign this fall. These efforts not only bolster the numbers of officers in the Service, but refresh the organization with new ideas and more local perspective.

The recruits were chosen following a local recruitment drive which concluded last August. After confirmation of minimum qualifications and passage of a written exam, interview, fitness test and vetting, 23 candidates were offered spaces in the recruit class.

Police said that unlike in previous years, permanent residents or work permit holders residing on island for four years or more were allowed to apply during the recruitment drive, and were considered for places in the recruit class not filled by a Caymanian or those holding permanent residency through marriage to a Caymanian. All Caymanian applicants who passed the vetting, exams and interview were offered a place in the recruit class first before any other applicants.

“Recruiting Caymanians continues to be a primary goal of the RCIPS, and I am pleased to note that we have far more Caymanian recruits in this class than last year,” Mr. Byrne said.

After the ceremony, the recruits immediately began their 15-week intensive training course. Those who pass the course will graduate into operational duty in May and then progress to on-the-job training during a two-year probationary period. At the end of their probation, the new officers could be posted in various units, such as criminal investigation, traffic, marine, air operations, financial crime, family support, or the K-9 unit, based on operational needs and priorities.

“The policing field, like all others, requires new and additional skills to those in the past, such as a high level of ICT literacy and awareness, and an ability to easily adapt to change,” said Commissioner Byrne. “The best police officers of the future will be those who consider themselves lifelong learners.

“But the primary duty of police officers to serve the public has not, and will not, change. Having sworn to perform this duty, these recruits now have their chance to show us what they can do.”

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