Police commissioner facing legal action over promotions policy

The commissioner of police is facing potential legal action from his own officers amid claims they are being denied the chance to apply for promotions within the service.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Association, which represents the interests of officers, has served Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne with a formal letter before action, alleging “unlawful decisions” in the administration of promotions.

Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne. Photo: Alvaro Serey.

The association claims the current system is “improper and unfair” and in breach of the legal obligations outlined in the Public Services Management Law.

Specifically, the officers claim the commissioner has appointed officers to acting roles – meaning they are temporarily filling a senior post – for time periods that exceed the 12-month limit outlined in the law.

The association says officers are being appointed to acting roles at an “alarming rate” and that some have been in interim posts for nearly four years. They suggest this approach is stifling the career progression of other qualified officers.

“At present there are approximately 21 officers who have been appointed to and remain in acting roles in excess of the 12-month statutory time limit,” the association stated in a press release.

“The consequence of this is that other officers who have passed the promotion examination from as far back as 2007, have been denied an opportunity to be promoted to these roles.”

Byrne was not immediately available for comment Monday afternoon.

The association states that there are currently 57 constables who have passed the promotion to sergeant examination, and 16 sergeants who have passed the promotion to inspector examination, who are all awaiting an opportunity to be interviewed by the promotion board.

None of the acting positions have been advertised during the last three years and no scheduled dates have been set for a promotion interview board to be convened,” the press release claims.

A letter before action is a formal legal warning of a pending lawsuit and a last chance to settle a dispute out of court.

The association’s case is that the commissioner’s approach in relation to the administration of promotions is a misuse of his power under the Police Law and is in contravention of the Personnel Regulations to the Public Services Management Law

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