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Police Commissioner Derek Byrne has assured that law and order remains stable in Cayman even as thousands are facing dwindling finances in the wake of the collapse of the tourism industry due to border closures.
However, he said on Thursday that his officers are preparing for any eventualities as the current COVID-19 situation progresses which may include increases in domestic violence reports.
“It’s something we do have a concern around, but nothing empirical to say there’s any increase or any spike,” he said.
“But just for people in homes, more confined for longer periods, it’s something we’re going to keep an eye on.”
Byrne joined Premier Alden McLaughlin, Governor Martyn Roper and Health Minister Dwayne Seymour at the daily COVID-19 briefing at the Government Administration Building on Thursday. Cayman’s local health leaders Dr. John Lee and Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez also addressed the briefing and provided updates on local tests.
Lee confirmed that two tests from Health City were returned with positive results for the coronavirus.
The two positive tests were staff members from Health City who were exposed to Cayman’s first coronavirus patient – a 68-year-old heart patient who died from complications associated with the virus.
A total of 30 people from the hospital were tested. All others came back negative.
A further 29 people were tested through the Health Services Authority and also came back negative. All tests will be confirmed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency.
Lee said the results should not change how the community is behaving now, and all protocols that are being followed should continue.
When it comes to crime, Byrne said, his officers are ready to enforce the bans imposed by government, which includes a prohibition on gatherings of 50 people and more, and, from Sunday, the closure of bars and restricting restaurants to delivery/pick-up only.
“We have redirected our traffic resources and our community policing resources, our firearms response unit resources and our canine unit resources. They are all performing high visibility patrols. We’re visiting supermarkets, banks, the hospital today [Thursday] and for the remainder of the weekend,” he said.
Over the weekend, the last commercial flights will be operating and Byrne said officers will be paying particular attention to the airports and maintain their response for frontline shift reports.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of increased patrols over 24-hour period for the foreseeable future,” he said.
He said, over on the Sister Islands, the situation is the same as Cayman, “everything is very stable” and there is full resource availability.
“We have a small reduction here. Some people in isolation self-isolation for the right reasons and in compliance with the advisory directives that have been issued. [There’s} no spike in crime, absolutely no spike in crime whatsoever,” he emphasised.
The commissioner did say however, that there were some burglaries not associated with the COVID-19 lockdown.
He said there was an operation to look at burglary commissions and a house search on Thursday morning.
However, the two people “happened to evade us, so they’re wanted for burglary”.
He said police overtime is being used to supplement and augment the regular shift for high visibility patrols.
However, from Monday, 30 March, a new 12-hour shift roster, which was agreed to by the police associations, will take effect.
It will create a two-shift system with an Alpha/Bravo Team-type approach, separating officers into teams for 12-hour tours, he explained.
“So they work longer hours but less days. So we will have higher visibility, more persons on those units,” he said.
The way it works, he said, is officers will be on four days on, four days off.
“It builds in maximum resilience and is the best considered roster for work, family life balance in terms of the current operating environment,” he added.
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