Baines vows to re-anchor cops

| 05/06/2009

(CNS):  Rebuilding the community’s confidence and rebuilding the confidence inside the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service are top priorities for the new Police Commissioner, David Baines. He said that policing is all about service to the community and looking outward at how to make people feel safe, but with the recent events surrounding the service the RCIPS had been distracted and started looking inward away from the community. Baines, who is on a four-year contract, said he wanted to re-anchor the service and remind people what the police are really there for.

Speaking at his first media briefing, the new RCIPS top cop was introduced by Governor Stuart Jack, who said that the service had been through challenging times and it needed solid permanent leadership to steer the RCIPS forward.  “I am very confident that we have chosen the right person and he will doexactly what we want him to do,” said Jack.

Baines said he was not here for an extended diving holiday but to work, and had already engaged in meetings where he had been briefed on the various concerns of police and public. “I am under no illusion as to the scale of the job that faces me to rebuild public confidence,” he said, adding that he would focus on community policing and was already identifying officers with potential that could be quickly placed in to position and help build bridges. Baines said he believed the quality of service was essential and he would be putting the community first. He said violent crimes, drugs, firearms and burglaries were the crime issues that affect quality of life and perceptions of safety.

He added that he also wanted to identify local police officers with the potential to move into the skills gaps that exist in the service and he was doing career reviews with all senior officers. He added that where he could not find the necessary skills internally he wanted to recruit new officers. He also spoke about reviewing the induction course for officers from other jurisdictions to create a common standard.

Baines also noted that there were infrastructure issues that had to be addressed as some of the police stations which were not fit for purpose, and in particular their lock up facilities would not meet the human rights standards required by the new constitution.

He said he was aware of the circumstances surrounding Operation Tempura and Operation Cealt and his responsibilities for the special police investigation team that were still here in Cayman. He also said he was confident that he was adequately supported with regard to him arriving and facing a writ against his post from former police commissioner Stuart Kernohan and former inspector Burmon Scott as a result of the Operation Tempura investigations.

He said that phase two of the special investigation, Operation Cealt, would run parallel with his desire to re-anchor the RCIPS and he was well aware that it would continue to be an issue for 6 to 12 months. “These things are going to run. They are already in train so we must deal with the corruption if it is there or clear up the perception of it,” Baines added. He said that there obviously had been concerns about the RCIPS and stones had to be turned over to look underneath and see what police were doing to keep the community safe.

Chief Secretary Designated Donovan Ebanks, PIE strategic advisor Peter Gough, and lawyer and partner with the Maitland Group Sara Collins, who had all been on the panel which selected the commissioner, offered their thoughts about why Baines had been selected. Ebanks stated that he felt Baines brought the right mix of experience and sensitivity to his community and was impressed with his track record. Gough said the panel had engaged in a number of focus groups before the interviews and Baines fitted the bill of what the community wanted, he said, adding that the panel was unanimous in their choice. “He was the best candidate for the job now he has to prove it,” Gough said.

Collins also talked about how much the focus and advisory groups had influenced the panel and had revealed how people wanted to feel safe again. “It was that intangible quality of someone who is passionate about making a difference and not just applying for a job, and Mr Baines gave that sense of making a difference, and I hope he lives up to it,” she added.

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  1. William Murphy says:

    I was reading in the newspaper today that the new police commissioner as well as interviewing his staff and getting a feel of his new job is in discussion with the cabinet regarding finances and budgeting for the police helicopter? Now with regard to the financing, was it not reported recently that the government was having to take out additional loans to pay the salaries of civil service personnel due to shortfalls in the budget?

    In this climate of financial uncertainty does it not seem foolhardy to be considering increasing the financial burdens of this country? Any research on the internet will show that the running of an independent police aviation support unit is not a cheap operation, would it not be more financially prudent to charter the necessary hours from the already operational helicopter company on island?

    This does not have to be a permanent solution, but surely in the short to medium term while the world and we recover from the severe disruption to the financial industry and its knock-on effect to all aspects of the economy it would make sense to be able to accurately predict, as far as possible, how much money you are going to be spending?

    As anyone in aviation will tell you one thing you can be sure about is that owning and operating an aeroplane/ helicopter of any description is expensive and you cannot predict all the operating costs, the unexpected additional maintenance costs etc. With chartering a set number of hours per week/ month you can accurately budget and keep a tight rein on your financial outgoings thereby helping to prevent overspending and all its ramifications to other projects being considered!

    I am sure it would be wonderful to be able to say that the RCIPS owns and operates its own helicopter, but truthfully wouldn’t the people of the Cayman Islands rather have the extra money available to fund other  more worthwhile community projects?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to see Commissioner Baines require that all police officers have basic first aid training and use these skills in the field. Case in point, I don’t see the point in having 6 officers respond to a stabbing if they’re all going to stand there and watch the victim bleed to death. A bystander had to jump in and administer first aid until the paramedics arrived. I thought police were supposed to protect and assist the public?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Welcome Mr. Baines.  Please make one of your priorities ensuring that there are no breaches in confidentiality when people are reporting crimes anonymously.  I remember years ago that I witnessed criminal activity and after calling 911 anonymously (at least I thought it was anonymous) the police showed up only to ask me if I had reported the crime.  I could overhear the police later on telling people at the scene of the crime that it had been a woman who called the police.  The police spoke to the people I reported, they laughed and then left.  I learned later that there were some people high up in government at that location.  All was swept under rug.

  4. Pale Rider says:

    The only way any Leader,( Commissioner, General, etc….) can effectively lead, is to do so from the front.  The Commssioner CANNOT sit in his office in his "Glass and Ivory Tower" and look down from on high and really  know what is going on in the streets…This has been the downfall of many of the past commissioners starting with David Thursfield.  The Commissioner of Police HAS to get out and about and actually observe the officers who work for him….NOT take the word of his senior officers that the work is getting done….Alan Radcliffe did it…Tony Gray did it…and the Police "Service" was the better for it….David Thursfield did not…he was too busy sailing…and this is what was essentially the beginning of the end for the RCIP…Officers knew they could waste time and do whatever they wanted to and the only person they had answer to was a Seargent or Inspector…possibly even someone with whom they were "intimately" involoved with…GASP…What you say???   Junior Officers involved sexually with the Supervisors they are working for???   Never Here you say???  Bollocks!!!  It happend, it is happening and will continue to happen until the Commissioner puts a stop to it…   Mr. Baines, you come with a very well established reputation.   Make sure you leave with it intact!!!  Get out there and show the RCIP that they not only have to answer to the public, but to "THE MAN!!"  …I guarantee you will see the morale of the RCIP start to climb…and Cayman WILL be a better place for it.

  5. Keen eye on the inside says:

    Mr Baines,

    I support you and I hope that you are going to listen to ALL you staff, not just those who want to flower the field and muddy the waters – only then will you be able to get the RCIPS back on track and give the public what it deserves and expects.


  6. Twyla M Vargas says:


    Yes many areas of the Police Force need a thoroughly check up.  The public will have much to say that will raise the hair on the head of the new commissioner, some idle talk but most of it true.

    My two bits is he should  quickly get up to date with knowing each district Police, and what takes place in them.   Some police officers are keeping social club Policing, meaning ‘"They  need fire up under their a—–es."  Mow mind you not all are like this that is way I said "Some"  

    You have to be complaining day after day after day about certain situations affecting certain communities., and the police could,nt care less.  They spend too much time in certain areas, policing the rich and famous, and not enough in the areas where crimes are being committed.  Some people talk about wanting to see police on Beat duty in the area walking. 

     It is too hot an uncomfortable for that, However.  what police need to do is when they are patrolling areas and see certain things happening.  They need to stop that Police Car, get out and address the situation.  

    I have  witnessed situations where persons are using drugs right in front of the police, and the police  ”SEE, SMELL AND IGNORE’  I have witnessed police officers in double parking traffic jam because of certain criminal activity persons parking illegal.  The police sit in their cars and wait about 10 or 15 minutes for them to move instead of getting their Back——ide out of the police car and say move on now.  

    I have witnessed police officers asking certain persons for their name, whom they suspect and have hints are overstaying criminals.   The people blatlently ignored and refused.   What kind of police is that?   These  same persons were overstayers on the Island for more than a year.    Maybe that Spit Team should have stayed here for a longer period.  Because there is more than meet the eye.   Socks were pulled up  yes, but,  havent they learned a lesson that.  SPIES  can be right under their noses.

    I just hope the new commissioner goes through the police force with a fine tooth comb.  He is going to find some tangles that Spit did not get to I am sure.  But I say clear them out.   Dont rely on what one team say about the other.  Get the Blue Print, check out for yourself.  Stay away  from the "Political Free Lunches,  and invitations".   Go diving on your free time, enjoy the white sand and  wet you feet in the cool waters;  mingle with the locals pickners, and you will be fine. 

    • expat 360 says:

      hey twyla, some excellent points as always… you are right, he HAS to get rid of the trash within the po-lice here before we the people can expect any law and order. There has to be a ZERO TOLERANCE rule of policing here, both inside and outside the force. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHO YA DADDY IS, OR WAY YOU COME FROM.

      At the monent, if you walk, or foot patrol  as an officer here, you get told off for being away from your car….

      The law is the law, respect it, or get out.


  7. FED UP says:

    I’m so sorry but is it me or does this guy look sort of like Simon from American Idol

    Please do tell me, it’s not just me!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I see they are now mashing up the 7 million dollar patrol boats aaaaaah boy down the same old road with the same old players if things do not change they will remain the same. Mr Baines God help you!

  9. Nicole says:

    As a Caymanian I do feel he’s the right man for the job!  People give him a chance pls!  Who Jah bless no man curse. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    ‘those who call this island home have high expectations of you.’

    Some would say impossibly high expectations.

  11. Caymanian to the bone says:

    Commissioner Baines appears to have a good track record in the UK police forces that he served, but I’m constanty reminded of past individuals whom also did, until things went haywire and the RCIPS went up in smoke and down the drain.

    I’m hoping that Mr. Baines record of service will turn out to be similar to Mr. Anthony Grey and Mr. David Thursfield, both of whom were down to earth UK Commissioners who garnered respect from within and outside the police service, without ever demanding it. They achieved a-lot in their relatively short time as Commissioners.

    I’m a bit confused as to why the Governor saw fit it this time around to grant a (4) four year contract and not a (2) two year contract, with the conditions that it would be strongly favoured for renewal if certain goals were met.

    The RCIPS have literally been turned upside down serveral times and has been on it’s knees for several years now and with this, I can’t understand why the Governor saw it fit to grant a contract for a four year period, without first seeing what Mr. Baines would produce. I just trust and hope that in 12-18 months down the line, there is not another "Volcano Eruption" in the RCIPS and then we’re all paying out unecessary "public funds" for two years thereafter and settling law suits, left right and centre.

    The RCIPS has a long way to go but I do believe with the right captain at the helm and with the dismantling and booting out of the incompetent, spineless and gutless that exist, (oh yes, they are there) we should see positive results in two years, thus the reason a two year contract would have been more appropriate under the circumstances.

    Good Luck Mr. Baines, I certainly don’t envy your position and certainly the CI Government couldn’t find the money that I would want, just to accept what you have just taken on. Hope to see you around in a couple of years, never mind four years.



  12. Anonymous says:

    I wish the man very good luck with what is an enormous mountain ahead of him to climb.  IF the police stop infighting and having racial and political divides and support him and work for him rather than self-interest he will bring some exycellent policies and hopefully make Cayman a safe place to live with a police force that has high morale, accountability, professional service and results and the lawlessness in some sectors of society will be driven out.  Bon Chance Commissioner – those who call this island home have high expectations of you.

  13. Anonymous says:

    He look to be a decent person but these Islands are going to ruin the poor man you could bring the best person in the world here but they will be destroyed

    • Anonymous says:

      In reply to anonymous 06/04/09-20:53

      No one can be destroyed unless he/she is weak.
      Therefore, don’t blame the place or the people. Be responsible for
      your own actions.