Police association heading to court over promotions row

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Association has been granted leave to bring a court challenge over how the police service promotes its officers.

The association says police officers are being appointed to acting roles at an “alarming rate”, and that 21 of them had been in interim posts for longer than the statutory 12 months, with some in those positions for nearly four years.

They suggest this approach is stifling the career progression of other qualified officers, who had passed the promotion examination several years ago.

According to the association, 57 constables have passed the promotion-to-sergeant examination, and 16 sergeants have passed the promotion-to-inspector examination – all of whom are awaiting an opportunity to be interviewed by the promotion board.

“However, 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 service association stated in a press release.

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The association announced Thursday that it had been given permission to apply for a judicial review into the matter, although a hearing date has not yet been set.

In its legal action, the police service organisation claims that Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne has been using an “improper and unfair system of promotions” that is contrary to the Public Services Management Law and Personnel Regulations.

The police association says the commissioner also has failed to convene promotion interview boards.

The association’s lawyers have issued a notice of motion and judicial review documentation to the commissioner, and have also referred the issue to Attorney General Samuel Bulgin.

The police association, in January, served a letter before action on Byrne, alleging that unlawful decisions had been made in relation to promotions within the RCIPS. 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 commissioner this week was served with another letter before action from the police association. That legal letter addressed concerns over the loss of vacation time for uniform officers following a change in how work shifts are organised, which the association says gives frontline officers seven fewer days of annual leave.

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