Top cop plans to ‘turn up heat’ on patrol officers

| 24/08/2010

(CNS): Officers in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service sealed up in their cool, air-conditioned cars may soon be a thing of the past. Police Commissioner David Baines has revealed that he is considering taking out theair conditioning units of police patrol cars to ensure that officers have their windows open and get out of their cars more often to interact with the community. A persistent complaint of many people is that while they say they see police cars passing through their districts, they very rarely actually see the police officers inside them as they remain inside the air-conditioned comfort with the windows tightly rolled up. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Having heard the same complaint at all three district police meetings over the last week, in West Bay on Monday evening (23 August) Baines said he was seriously thinking about removing the a/c units from the cars, which would mean officers would have to wind down windows and become more visible to, and engage with, the public they serve.
The issue goes to the heart of what the wider community wants and the message that is loud and clear from the Caymanian public regarding police visibility. Time and time again the people have said that they want to see more officers in their communities and they want to know who they are and have a relationship with those officers.
Baines said he is doing all he can to establish a full neighbourhood policing service across the islands which, once at full compliment, will consist of two neighbourhood officers for each MLA, namely: eight in George Town and West Bay, six in Bodden Town, two each in North Side and West Bay, and four on the Sister Islands, raising the visibility of local officers.
In the meantime, however, Baines said district commanders will impress upon their officers the need to get out of patrol cars and interact and engage with the community on the street.
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  1. Man says:

    The Commis has lost control. If he is unable to motivate his staff to walk the beat, become more involved in community policing without having to go to these extremes, he has lost control.

    1.      We need to require all police officers sit a literacy test.

    2.      Terminate and pay the severance of all who fail.

    3.      Replace with outside and locally recruited staff.

    4.      Change the hiring practice and ensure tenure is not the sole factor in upward mobility; academic ability must also weigh heavy in these decisions.

    Let’s face it, if a person cannot read, or has a very low IQ, it is going to be impossible for them to become as disciplined as Policing requires. We cannot combat crime with unconcerned and unengaged personnel in the RCIP.

  2. Anonymous says:

    THIS COMMISSIONER DO NOT HAVE THE WELFARE OF THE OFFICERS IN MIND/HEART  We know that they are a few members of the public that will complain about police using a/c in the car, these are mostly those that are antipolice.the head officer feel that he must do some thing about it to please these people/sound like a politician to me. i hope that he take out the a/c he will be the first to drive around town at lunch  time until 3 pm  we know that in england the climate is so much different from here they do not need a/c in thier cars, and do not likely to have in thier office . i hope that is only a political move by the commissioner to please  a few disgruntle people.  i for one would prefere to see the commissioner putting more effort into having officer on FOOT patrol in town. you can drive around town all day do not see a officer. have we forget last week when four tourist ship were in town not police was seen in town.  this was time that the rum shop was robbed at 4pm, isthis not more important for MR baines to deal with. i think so.

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolute tosh he cares a lot and he’s trying to make the RCIPS work for everybody (police and public) – but nobody is listening and nobody likes change. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think this measure should not be taking.  How about cutting RCIPS salaries by 50% and have the remaining 50% commission based or completely commission based?   Im sure you will see the crime reduced dramatically with these types of measures in place.  =)

    • Anonymous says:

      This is an idiotic idea. Maybe you should become a Cop who has a Mortgage and a family to support!  Stop blaming the Police. Look at the law that they have to abide in and then you will think twice about cutting their salaries.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is another stupid idea to try and keep people happy. He knows well enough when he goes to these meetings, he will hear about the Police driving around with windows up. He will hear about the need for dogs, so he gives the idea that the dogs will be here one day. Where in the free world do the Police not have climate controlled cars? Not too many I bet. Are these people that are charged with our protection that negligent that you will have to resort to this? Please, if this is the case then we have people with the mental capacity of a five year old wearing a uniform.  I think the next meeting he needs to bring a septic pumping truck and leave it there after he leaves, to clean up the —- that he just dumped! This is a big JOKE!

  5. Chet O. Ebanks says:

    If I may add another suggestion. With the ever increasing crime on Grand Cayman, more and more people are leaving these shores. Same to me it would make sense for Caymanians to try and come together and stick together and try and help rid this island of the crime. All I hear is suggestions all the time and as a young Caymanian am just sick and tired. We the people of these islands need to come together and vote out these politicians that only seem to be keep running for office to get rich. Come on young people and Caymanian voters do something come next election vote them out send them to pasture, we need new ideas and new and young Caymanians to run this country. For the sake of this country vote them out.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    Anyone ever stop to think that this may just be a figure of speach and an example of just how frustrated the commissioner is with the lack of support and supervision from those responsible for the supervision of the patrol officers.

    This is a cry for help if ever there was one, and the sad part is this is not directed at the general public. It is directed at his own supervisors and officers.

    There are two methods used to get people to do what they are supposed to do. "The carrott and the Stick" if the Carrott isnt working then its time for the stick. This is unfortunate but true.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hook, line and sinker – swallowed by you all,  It was said as "perhaps thats what we should do to make them open the windows" rather than a serious proposal – as that is what you all moan about – them sitting in air conditioned cars.  Note the immediate response is to encourage them to get out of the cars!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mr Baines, would you be giving up the car that you have free of cost at the Government’s expense, will you start purchasing your own fuel! until then dont condemn officers for enjoying the same luxiries you enjoy! You earn enough to buy your own damn car. Its time you people stop trying to be dictators!!!!!! What’s good for the geese should e good for the gander! Food for thought!

  9. Anonymous says:

    way to motivate the police, good conditions to work, what other benefits will you take away????

  10. Anonymous says:

    That’s why we are in a mess in georgetown and 7 mile beach. The taxis parked in Westin and Ritz have their engines off and they are still presentable to the tourist. The police need to get on motorcycles and bicycles. We need traffic control in town and you hardly ever see a police officer there. When they are there everything runs smoothly. Good idea lets try it. By the way if they can’t read and write they shouldn’t be a police officer .

  11. Anonymous says:

    There are many things that need to be addressed in the RCIP, but taking the ac out of their vehicles is not one of them.  Before it reaches that stage perhaps, they aught to change the leadership, because the indians are only as good as the chief that leads them.  Clear policies and directions are all that is needed.

    Next, the public is always good at finding fault with the police, but they are never good at helping them.  The poor police are fighting two evils; the criminals and an uncooperative and unappreciative public.


  12. Twyla Vargas says:

    I think it is very people friendly to see your police officers when they drive by; during day  time in the communities,  because if you dont even have anything to report, a friendly exchange of a hand wave is good enough. Letting them know you see them, they see you, and they are welcome. 

     Now at night times I would prefer to see the car drive by with windows up.  It has a more serious effect, whereby bystanders do how  a more calm  approach, not knowing what is on the inside of the closed wndows.  Sincerely, it does have an effect.

    I however,  would not support removing the airconditions from the patrol cars, and would leave it to the descretion of the police, hoping that on breifing they use their descretion  well.

  13. Anonymous says:

    "Ok, officer, out of the car. NOW!"

    I fully agree with getting police officers out of their cars! However, thereis far more effective solution than eliminating a/c’s in patrol cars: A superb option would be to return to having officers patrolling on bicycles as an adjunct to motor patrols. We had that once here in the islands. What happened to the bike patrols? 

    An excellent article on the subject appeared in the April 2007 issue of Law and Order Magazine. The article is entitled "Bicycle Patrols Versus Car Patrols" by Chris Menton, associate professor of criminal justice at Roger Williams University, School of Justice Studies. It detailed numerous advantages of having officers on bicycles. Bike patrols would be a wonderful way to improve overall police effectiveness in these islands. There are many jurisdictions world-wide that have enjoyed tremendous success with their bicycle patrol divisions.

    The many benefits of bicycle patrols include: cost-effectiveness, much more contact with the public, less impact on the environment, vastly increased stealth (the element of surprise is there as most criminal do not notice bike officers until it is too late) , greater access to places where patrol cars cannot go, increase in "approachability" of officers by members of the public, greater public awareness of police presence in area, betterment of public relations with police, increased feeling of security by public, reduced police response time in many circumstances, greater awareness of officers to their patrol "beat" and neighbourhoods, bike officers often detect (see, hear, smell) things a car-bound officer would surely miss, increased fitness level of bike officers as opposed to their sit-in-the-car counterparts.

    In addition, bike patrols are well-suited for post-hurricane duty when roads may be impassable for patrol cars.

    The list goes on and on regarding the numerous advantages that accompanies implementing a bicycle patrol. I fail to see why we do not have a bicycle patrol division in these islands!

    In researching bike patrols, I see that such patrols cover all the goals that the Commissioner wants to achieve. I would urge those reading this to press Police Commissioner Baines to bring back bicycle patrols!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not that long ago there were two British Police ladies who were always seen about the place on bicycles.

      I do not recall them exploding due to the lack of Air conditioning or spontaneously combusting due to the temperature.

      If they have left, presumably the cycles are still here to be used?


  14. Anonymous says:

    Do a little research.  Almost always happy employees who are treated well are the most productive and best to have.  Surely this goes against that common idea.   Let’s take the A/C out of your office too to make sure you are out supervising your officers.

  15. Raven says:

    There is a one sided thought. What will happen when it rains for days ? What will his argument be ?

    The officer’s will have to stay indoors….besides most crimes are almost never committed in the rain !?!?!?

    I think it’s a easily resolvable issue that can be dealt with simple HR type solutions. Like penalising them and if that had been put forward it might not have to come down to drastic measures.


  16. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if  Mr. Baines will have the a/c in his car removed? While I understand public sentiment re: more visibility, making working conditions tougher will only discourage potential officers from joining the force and encourage the good officers to leave!

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure I saw Baines and another officer driving in a patrol car down Shedden Road this morning – with the windowswound down and (presumably) the A/C off.  If it wasn’t him, the person certainly looked like him.  Whoever, it was, I commend you as I too see too many police cars with windows wound up, and not enough Police Officers out of their cars or out on the beat.  A prime example of behaviour I can honestly say I have personally witnessed:  A police officer is manning a roadblock literally two minutes walk from the police station.  She radios in and asks if somebody could bring her a glass of water as she is unable to leave her post.  The female officer who brought her the water was observed leaving the police station, and getting into a police vehicle, simply to take the glass of water to her fellow officer – two minutes walk away down the road.  She delivers the water out of the window, rolls it back up, and drives back to the police station.  Is it me or is this the height of laziness?

      It perhaps seems a little draconian to threaten to remove the A/C from patrol cars, but if procedures, policies, and threats aren’t enough to make officers do the right thing, perhaps he’s had to resort to more drastic measures to get the message across?

    • Anonymous says:

      you sound like a POLICE OFFISA!   Police Officers are to PROTECT and SERVE, not ride around in a/c chatting on their phones, to burn their shift.  

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never heard such a bunch of pure garbage in all my life & the most ridiculous suggestion ever!  I recommend this ludicrous proposal first be implemented in all our MLA & Police Commissioner vehicles on a trial basis (during the August & September summer months) & a survey taken for its pros & cons before it is implemented to the RCIP patrol officers.  Paramedics better be on stand-by for heat exhaustion & dehydration.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I have never heard something so ridiculous in my life and I am not young!!!! Baines seems to be grasping at straws so as to not look so incompetent in the eyes of the public.

    He needs to get crime under control, but I can assure you his new shifts for officers and this stupid idea is not going to help. Most nights now, only on traffic car is on the streets of this island, one officer working in West Bay and one car from Central!!!! What a flipping mess!!!!!

    I hope if he removes the a/c from the vehicles, he doesn’t forget to remove it from the cars that he and Jones drive around in as well!!!!

    This is pathetic!!!!!

  19. Cat says:

    Wow, I kinda like this Idea, but actions speak louder than words as we all know, so I hope he doesn’t just say he’s considering it, but actually does it. Prove to us for once that we are being given pure lip service and jargon and  start enabling us to start regaining confidence and trust and prove they are competent protectors.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Wow this is impressive! The main thing with the a/c on and windows up is if they are driving by somewhere and someone needs their assistance & calls at them for help they would not be able to hear if windows up, a/c blowing & most likely radio going also. With windows down and nothing on when patrolling could save a life, especially in these times.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with the TOP COP but what happens if it rains???

  22. Chet Oswald Ebanks says:

    Good Day, Finally someone is listening to the citizens and residents. It has long been said that a bigger and better police presence would mean the public wouldn’t fear the police but help more when information is needed. A great start Mr. Baines. I can only hope the politicians will keep the politics out of thisgreat suggestion.


  23. Rorschach says:

    Will someone please tell David Baines to engage brain before opening mouth??  Removing the a/c from the patrol cars??  Does he have any idea how HOT it gets in Cayman??  You expect officers to wear polyester uniforms, respond to reports where they have to get out and deal with members of the public and sometimes chase, subdue, and apprehend violent criminals and still be presentable and convey a professional image??…Dude…pull your cranium out of your sphincter and teach your officers one simple mantra…."when in town..window down.."…you can still have a/c in a car and use it to stay comfortable…that does NOT require you to keep the windowns rolled up…what is going to happen when it rains?? You are going to have officers NOT going on patrol because they will not be able to see out of the windscreen due to condensation….what about officers whom you expect to park and do radar duties…are they expected to sit in un a/c patrol cars and sweat like crazy…next you will be getting complaints from members of the public that your officers look like ragmauffins…get your senior officers OUT of the office and onto the streets SUPERVISING their officers and HOLD them accountable…DONT punish your officers for the failings of their leaders…

  24. Anonymous says:

    While they’re at it, they should set up some kind of regular patrol / trap along West bay road to catch not only the crazy speeders, but the drivers that seem to think that the middle turning lane is ok to use to pass other vehicles. Sometimes even 2,3,4 or more cars at a time.

    It happens regularly, but I’ve never EVER seen anyone ticketed for it, and I travel that stretch of road multiple times daily. Someone is going to get hurt or even killed – it needs to be addressed.

    There are also a few ‘trouble roundabouts’ such as the one by Kings Sports Center, and in prospect that are consistently being used incorrectly (ie: Cars travelling all the way around the roundabout in the outside lane) and causing accidents / near misses frequently. Officers need to address this too.

    Taking away the a/c is fine & all if they think it will help, but some basic traffic patrols to deal with the multitude of unsafe drivers seems like it should be a bigger priority.


  25. Anonymous says:

    This must be against health and safety regulations for the welfare of the police officers.  Those poor officers sitting in squad cars dressed to the nines in heavy shirts, bullet proof vest, heavy pants, belts with equipment attached to the belt and big boots.   I have seen them walking on the beach dressed in their current uniform having difficulty walking on the sand in their big heavy army boots and sweating profusely.  Perhaps if they were allowed to wear a uniform similar to the style as the Police in Miami, Florida who have the same climate to Cayman, if not cooler then they wouldn’t mind putting the windows down and turning off the a/c.  The Miami police uniform comprises of shorts, short sleeved shirt and light weight footwear and they look comfortable.  I bet Mr Baines won’t turn off his a/c in the car!

    Unbelievable!  Whatever next – only go to the bathroom twice a day if you behave and make sure you are not more than 2 minutes each time.   Perhaps they should also think about fixing the a/c in WB Police Station too as I understand it hasn’t worked for a very long time so the officers can sweat in the car and head back to the station and sweat there too and stink to high heaven.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I am sorry but that is the most stupid suggestion I have ever heard. Illogical at best….we might as well put all the officers on bicycles then so they can talk freely oh wait maybe we should have some officers on bicycles in the central town area….hmmm makes more sense to me…imagine a traffic officer parked doing radar and in full uniform bullet proof vest etc with no airconditioning…maybe he forgets that he is not in the UK where it is usually much cooler and raining much of the time….oh yeah! without AC the windows will most certainly fog inside the vehicle when it rains creating an unsafe driving environment for our officers…This is another stupid unthought idea to proliferate the better being of the Police …dont let me get started about the new shift hours that drain officers due to a short downtime to recover from long days working, which has been covered in other relevent posts….  

  27. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    Commissioner Baines, air conditioning units in police patrol cars are necessary during a pouring rain…  A ‘windows down unless rain is falling policy’ would be my suggestion, but it would be an overreaction to remove the A/C units sir.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Back to school, did someone say "kindergarten cops". This is just laughable,if these are the drastic measures that Commissioner Baines has to resort to to get his men to carry out verbal or even written instructions I dare say the battle is all but lost. What is his command center doing are these officers truly running around with no supervision. If the RCIPS on a whole are incapable of being able to carry out these simple instructions and the top commanders are unable to ensure that they are carriedout, then the RCIPS is in more trouble than I could have imagined. A few "dead wood" ok they could be dealt with,incompetence with statements, evidence chain broken, all fixable problems.Now the straw that broke the camels back, inability to follow or they just plain don’t want to follow the most basic of instructions.Get out of their air conditioned cars walk a little meet the people  they are supposed to protect and who they might have to ask one day to write a statement or maybe even assist them with something. I agree this might give him a measure of success,but people are these the kind of officers you think  you would  want protecting and would I dare to imagine serving you and me. But you have it from Top Cop he cant get his officers to follow basic instructions .Leaves one to think who is really in charge..Anyone minding the gate.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I am wondering if the Commissioner now have the Mackeeva syndrome talk before you think. Take the ac out of the cars and what happens when it rains and the windows fog up, park the cars and do no patrols, shucks no just drive them and they have something to blame bad driving on.

    The more I listen to him the more I am of the opinion that he has no strategy and is being reactive instead of proactive.  

  30. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like "cruel and unusual punishment". Doesn’t he know that it’s often 100 degrees inside cars in Cayman in the summer.

    It may make good PR but doesn’t get to the bottom of the issue. Morale. Indeed, this may only make the issue worse.

  31. Anonymous says:

    How about installing those electronic monitoring tags on them so their whereabouts can be tracked!  But then again they would know how to remove them….

    • Rorschach says:

      Could you think of anything more ignorant to say???

        FYI, most police vehicles are equipped with GPS trackers that show their position and status 24 hours a day…problem is…No one bothers to actually read the reports…and that INCLUDES that CoP….