COVID-19 curfew lands arrests

Police officers carry out a road block to catch people who break curfew hours.
Police officers carry out a road block to catch people who break curfew hours.

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Two people were arrested and at least 97 vehicles were stopped by police on Wednesday and Thursday as they enforced Cayman’s 24-hour curfew.

Police Commissioner Derek Byrne, at a government press briefing on Thursday afternoon, said the vast majority of the vehicles stopped were determined to be carrying essential workers.

RCIPS officers stopped 30 vehicles on Grand Cayman on Wednesday night.

RCIPS Commissioner Derek Byrne gives curfew update at Thursday’s press briefing.

Describing the work of his officers on Wednesday, the commissioner said, “Six persons were found to be in breach of the curfew. Two were arrested, four have been warned of pending prosecution. In Cayman Brac, 12 vehicles were stopped and, with the exception of two persons in breach of the curfew, all complied as essential services.”

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Byrne said an additional 55 vehicles were stopped between 7am and 2pm on Thursday. Of that number, 10 people were found in breach of the curfew and were warned for prosecution.

The round-the-clock curfew was announced on Wednesday by Premier Alden McLaughlin. It began at 7pm that night, and is expected to be lifted at 5am on Saturday, 28 March. The curfew comes as government continues to increase it efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The RCIPS have been tasked with enforcing the curfew, and has enlisted the help of other uniformed groups.

“We are out in large numbers across the islands,” said Byrne. “I’m supported by the services of [Customs and Boarder Control], and also enforcement officers from [Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman] and also my colleagues in Special Constabulary; that allows us to put out a large number of cars through the night and across island.”

The RCIPS currently employs a community-policing strategy. In light of the COVID curfew, the extra officers have been used to bolster that strategy, especially in the eastern districts.

“Between last night and this morning, there are an additional nine units operating in the [eastern districts], which comprises of North Side, East End and Bodden Town,” said Byrne, adding that police had additional “roving community policing support vehicles, and traffic support vehicles, and the helicopter, of course, has been providing vital support to that part of the island”.

The commissioner said people who witness anyone breaking the curfew should call 9-1-1, which would log the report and then dispatch officers.

Other crimes

Byrne said since the COVID curfew has been implemented, there have not been any spikes in crime.

“I’m very pleased to report that the policing service continues to operate on a very stable platform – no spikes,” said Byrne. “Two burglaries [Wednesday] night – that’s the total of the crime commissions report across the Cayman Islands.”
He said although the RCIPS was out on high-visibility patrol, there was not added strain to their policing capabilities.

“Normal policing operations remain in place to deal with whatever may happen and then all these additional patrols which I have already mentioned … are out to deal with the COVID-19 enforcement curfew.”

He added, “Everything is very calm, and everything is very stable.”

Full coverage: Coronavirus

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