During a storm, natural disaster or – as is the case currently – a public health crisis, the police are charged with enforcement of the laws of the Cayman Islands and maintaining public safety.
The duties of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service are many and varied but include ensuring that curfews are observed and that other safety regulations are being followed.
In the event of a hurricane, this also includes shelter security, protecting critical infrastructure and ensuring rapid high-visibility policing deployment post-storm.
The RCIPS engages in search and rescue duties and will assist with helping people out of difficult conditions.
The police also assist in searching for survivors in areas where people stayed in their homes or sheltered in buildings that were heavily damaged or destroyed.
Following a storm or natural disaster the RCIPS will assist in protecting critical locales, including those for water, fuel, electricity and communications.
Know when to call 9-1-1
Emergency personnel cannot come out in the middle of a storm, so take proper precautions in advance of a storm. If you call 9-1-1 during the storm, your call will be noted for action when it is safe, so please follow up, notifying 9-1-1 of your situation once the storm abates.
Keep 9-1-1 updated
If you have called 9-1-1 for urgent assistance and then move to another location, call them back and let them know; otherwise, emergency personnel will spend valuable hours looking for you when they could be helping the next person in need instead.
Be prepared for enforcement
The RCIPS will not tolerate criminal activity and those found engaging in illegal acts will be dealt with the full force of the law.
What is a curfew?
A curfew mandates that residents stay at home or in their place of work during specified hours. Various curfews have been imposed during the COVID-19 crisis in the past few months. This has primarily been to help stop the spread of the coronavirus via human-to-human transmission. Curfews, which are imposed by the Commissioner of Police, may also be implemented in the event of a storm, either before it hits, or in its wake, in the interests of safety, and law and order.
What is a state of emergency?
In the face of an impending strike by a major hurricane, other action likely to endanger public safety or in the immediate aftermath of another type of disaster, the Governor may, as a precaution, issue a “Proclamation of Emergency.” This allows the Governor to expedite actions in the interests of public safety and security, including the acquisition or distribution of goods. The provisions of the proclamation may be applied to facilitating any other purpose deemed essential to good governance.
Can the police arrest you if you refuse to leave an area deemed unsafe?
Yes. The Governor may declare an area unsafe and direct that it be evacuated by a specific time. Under the police law any person who, without proper authorisation, enters or is found in an unsafe area, or refuses to leave an unsafe area, is guilty of an offence. On summary conviction such an individual would be liable to either a fine or a two-year prison term, or both.
Will there be police in hurricane shelters?
Yes. Police will be deployed once shelters are opened. Officers will provide security management within the shelter for the duration of the storm or natural disaster.