Cayman’s police service is set to receive additional hands on deck starting in November.
The RCIPS formally launched its Community Safety Officers initiative with the introduction of 11 officers, all of whom have been assigned to work in local communities, according to an RCIPS press release.
“These new CSOs are not police officers, but civilian members of the local community, who will be patrolling communities and identifying issues of concern, while helping to bridge the gap between the police and the community,” police said.
The CSOs will have a unique uniform and will use specific vehicles, which will be clearly marked to identify them as Community Safety Officers so the public can differentiate them from the RCIPS, said the release.
They will be on the RCIPS payroll, but will not have powers of arrest, police said.
In West Bay, Bodden Town and George Town, three CSOs have been assigned to each district. East End and Cayman Brac have each been assigned a single CSO. The North Side CSO post has yet to be filled.
“They will each be deployed in a specific district, where they will work closely with local community members, stakeholders, and partners, to problem solve and address local issues,” the police statement added.
Superintendent of Uniform Operations Robert Graham pointed out that each CSO, except one, lives in the district in which he or she will be working.
“This means each of the new CSOs have a vested interest in what’s going on and a real commitment to addressing the issues that the community believes are important,” he said.
Graham added the introduction of the CSOs, for him, is a real and very tangible difference to the way the RCIPS will work with and for local communities.
“It will build upon our ability to identify local issues and also improve our responsiveness through enhanced working relationships within local communities. This is about really focusing on those issues that cause the local community the most concern and addressing those concerns through an improved partnership approach,” he said.
The Community Safety Officer initiative was one of Premier Alden McLaughlin’s campaign proposals which he pledged, when he took office, that he would make happen.
“We have seen that community policing does make a difference and, as such, I welcome this new Community Safety Officer programme,” the premier said in the police statement.
He added that government had budgeted some $270 million for national security and committed to putting into place a dedicated community policing programme.
“We, as a Government, are doing what we need to in order to financially support the RCIPS, and I am satisfied that under the leadership of the current Commissioner and his senior team the RCIPS has taken seriously this Government’s commitment to keeping our communities safe and reducing gun crime in the Cayman Islands,” McLaughlin said.
Police said the CSOs will be deployed at key times, based on local requirements, for up to 20 hours per week. Their deployments will be directed by Courtney Myles, the inspector in charge of the Community Policing Department.