Cops slammed over records

| 17/11/2011

PF-AA451_smpape_F_20110504170510.jpg(CNS): The information commissioner made one of her most damning criticisms yet this week when she slammed the RCIPS in her latest ruling, describing their handling of a request as “atrocious”, as well as finding that they were not in compliance with the law. Jennifer Dilbert said proper records management was essential to the functions and success of the RCIPS and its crime-fighting responsibilities but she found that there were not sufficient resources, policies and procedures in relation to the manner in which it keeps records. In her decision she ordered the police to release information refused to an applicant and condemned the way the cops had handled the request from start to finish.

“Procedurally, the handling of this case, from the initial response to the internal review, was atrocious” said Dilbert. “The RCIPS need to take steps to improve the way they process and handle FOI requests.”

During the course of the hearing, the information boss said there were delays in identifying and submitting the responsive records for review, and even the hearing itself had to be adjourned when Dilbert was forced to order the police produce the records.  Owing to the number of procedural and administrative failures, the information commissioner said the police were not in compliance with the FOI Law and required them to take actions to correct their deficiencies.

Not a single one of the legal requirements and best practice rules which applied during the course of the request were followed in this case, the information boss revealed. Dilbert also noted that there are what she described as some “very serious record-keeping issues” within the RCIPS.

“There seems to be total confusion as to what files exist, do not exist, cannot be found, or have not yet been found. A proper paper trail of investigations is obviously not being maintained in all cases,” she wrote in her decision.

“Given the manner in which this request and appeal were handled by the RCIPS, I can only conclude that the vital importance of record keeping is insufficiently understood and acted upon within the Service. It appears that not all RCIPS officers, particularly in PSU, are cognizant of the requirements of the FOI Law in order to deal with requests for information,” she added.

The hearing was triggered after a request for records of a number of Professional Standards Unit (PSU) investigations as well as personnel records of the applicant was partially refused by the RCIPS.  In her ruling, the commissioner ordered the RCIPS to release not only the bundle of responsive records that had been identified in the hearing but also required the service to search for a number of other records previously identified but not submitted during the processing of the matter.

In their submission, the RCIPS claimed the records were exempt from release under section 16 of the FOI Law which relates to law enforcement, saying they could affect the conduct of an investigation but submitted no evidence to support these claims. 

Instead, they suggested that a number of investigation files were not yet officially closed and if the applicant chose to return to the RCIPS at a future date the investigations could be continued.  The commissioner did not accept the speculative reasoning put forth by the RCIPS, which now has 30 days to conduct a further search for records and 45 days to seek a judicial review of the Commissioner’s Decision if they so chose.

See full ruling below or go to www.INFOCOMM.ky

Category: FOI

Comments (27)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What's the big surprise things go missing and are stored in all kinds of places.

    A mans house is just as secure as a shredder.

    Somethings don't need to be recorded and somethings just never happened.

     

    ?

  2. Name changed by moderator says:

    Thank you FOI Commissioner Mrs. Dilbert for  seeing behind and around all the rhetoric that is usually thrown at persons seeking information that they have a right to from these agencies

    You have our support out here.  Keep up the good work.

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    No problem….once a Bill of Rights is fully implemented, the RCIPS can be prosecuted in a court of law under an abuse of a person's human rights if the FOI requests are not complied with under the requirements of that law.

    It rarely happens that the police do not comply nowadays in Britain because police are arrested, charged, prosecuted and convicted of various crimes and offenses in Britain every day….no worries, mon Bill of Rights soon come !

  4. so Anonymous says:

    Third world people with first world rules, regulations, technologies, and problems.  The money is there, the information is there, new cars and trucks but same old third world attitudes by the people task for the job.  Its a learning process and its going to take what it takes to change it. And what is that?  Cayman needs educated, experianced people to keep up with the world. Cayman limits educated and experianced people from coming in to work to keepits uneducated and unexperianced locals working.  So until something changes its always going to be a noncompliant, barely functioning, easy to corrupt society where the blame is put on those who have no power to fix it.   Caymankind.

    • Anonymous says:

      one to talk – can't spell!

    • Anonynoying says:

      Yout anti-caymanian bigotry might fly further if it wasn't directed at an expat-heavy entity.

      • so Anonymous says:

        Its not anti Caymanian its anti third world type people who have jobs that are way over their heads but they can not be fired and qualified people put in their place.  This is not about the police but it is about getting anything done in an efficient and competent manner in any Government entity for the same reasons.  I know many educated smart Caymanians and they feel the same way.  Expat heavy can not guarantee total compliance.  Hireing qualified ONLY would.  And yes there are much more qualified Caymanians out there who can not take the job from an unqualified and non performing (expat or Caymanian) because they do not hire for that basis.  Hence the never ending non compliance issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Educated people know how to spell "experienced". They understand when an apostrophe is required. They don't make meaningless statements like "and its going to take what it takes to change it". You are hardly a poster child for the educated expat versus the ignorant Caymanian.

      In any event, it is the supposedly superior expats who are in charge at RCIPS.   

  5. Knot S Smart says:

    Ok thats enough of this crap!

    I am heading over there right now to tell the police about their P's and Q's and make them give me the documents to take for Mrs. Dilbert!

     

  6. Anonymous says:

    Millions spent on the Oracle/Stellent records management system and training and this is the best we can get!!!!

    I know a guy who can "fix" this (only for a few more millions) and it's not you know who!!!

     

    Seriously, why have laws that can't (or won't) be enforced????

  7. Anonymous says:

    uh-oh spaghettios

  8. Anonymous says:

    They and the government still feel that we are under the "old" colonial rule where no one has any rights to anything and what the "massah" says goes. Times are changing and it will take time. The Police also feel that they are above the law and do not have to comply – they are used to telling people what to do and do not like being told what to do. They have hidden behind the Police Law for so long that they feel this is the only law that they have to live by.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Until they weed out all of those who are illiterate and only there for the money and start recruiting and keeping "real" police who care about upholding the law, things can only get worse in Cayman. All the money we are pouring in is wasted.  The responsible person(s) should be held accountable for this mess.  Proper record keeping is essential in any organisation but if the Police cannot even keep proper records, what is the point of having them?  I'm sure this is one of the reasons very few people are convicted of a crime even when it is obvious that the person is guilty.

    • Anonymous says:

      anon@ 0547 Illiteracy is not at issue here. Seek information on how the system operate before you start making those dumb and unfounded allegations about illeteracy.Do you know about the inner workings of the RCIPS? Like any onthe Government department or statutory bodies  you have civillian workers who are highly qualified to run the administrative and personnel departments of the organization. For whatever reason you seems you have a passion of hate for the uniform rank and file police personnel. I don't know why and I dont care. The facts are that there are HR managers, higher Executive Officers who are qualified civil servants, qualified secretaries, who work with departmental heads of departments, the Commissioner himself who is qualified with a number of Bsc 's Msc 's and other qualifications. You have lower tier civil servants who are communication officers, clerical officers attached to each station.There are senior officers with Llb and other degrees and one even qualified as a lawyer . All of these persons help in running the Organization. The information system fails because of bad management from the top and middle administrative managers. Its not the little constable or sergeants (who probable prosicuted you or  gave you a traffic ticket or, i hope not , even locked you up) alone that clogged up the system , it is the whole machinery of management. You know what I hate? It is when people out of the bitterness of their heart come out and write foolishness before researching what they are writing about. I mean even if I am not bright like you , I can express myself objectively on this site and and people can see where I am coming from. What a great thing that any one can express anything onCNS site eeh? God bless freedom of expression. From the moment the Commissioner came out and announced publicly  that there were a substantial number of officers who are illiterate, some of you are out there have been singing this song, especially if you had a past altercation with a police officer. If your approach was objective even if you are not correct , it would be understandable.

       

       

       

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Ok….'objecyive' anonymous…we agree with you that it is not a culture of 'illiteracy' within the RCIPS that is the problem…there are too many edicationally and professionally qualified people within the ranks of the organization for that to be the case.

        Are you objective enough then, to admit that is is an institutionalised culture of secrecy and withholding legally required information from members of the public ?

        Or, in other words, as the FOI Commissioner, Jennifer Dilbert, implies….a deliberate intention and attempt to not comply with the FOI laws that apply in Cayman ?

        Or, a completely inadequate system for keeping reliable, accurate records…

        Which is a very frightening position for a police force to be in and for the public that they serve and supposedly, protect.

        Now, which is it…you have to choose one….you cannot have it all your way.

        Or is it both ?

        • inquirer says:

          institutionally entrenched culture of secrecy of withholding information sometimes even needlessly. This is suffered even by some members of the service seeking about their welfare and other matters affecting their sevice.You have to understand though  that there has to be some withholding for security reasons otherwise, cases are going to be lost, witnesses are going to be threatened, investigation will compromised amongst other adverse consequences.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don't hate anyone.  But I do know there are police officers who cannot read and write and therefore cannot uphold the law if they can't read it.  I also know there are wonderful officers who do a great job.  Its the others who drag them down.  I don't care who is at fault here. What I care about is that the Police are being paid to do a job and if they don't even have proper records, how can they function, let alone get criminals to court and get them convicted.  I also care that millions of tax dollars – mine, yours and everyone else who lives on these Islands are not being spent on getting the basic, fundamentals right – ie.  No records, no convictions.  No proper procedures, no convictions, no convictions = more crime. 

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess that is the previous poster's point proven! lol!

      • Anonymous says:

        Illeteracy? Seriously? In this context and you do not make it past the second line?

      • Anonymous says:

        I think the saying goes …. 'it is better to remain silent than to remove all doubt.'

         

      • Dan Brown says:

        This is not a laughing matter.

        This is a message from the secret society who call themselves 'The Illiterati' who dominate public positions in the Cayman Islands, including the Police.

        They are everywhere and cannot be stopped.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Don't blame the Chief Inspector dealing with FOI – the final decision on what can and cannot be released rests with the Commissioner.

    This is typical of the UK police attititude to FOI, which is absolute contempt for the concepts of openness and transparency.  

    Under the previous permanent Commissioner the FOI post was going to be a civilian job, that requirement having been mandated by staffing proposals agreed with CIG in 2007/8. In fact it appears that FOI would have been run by one of two permanent press officers but the second, due to be employed in May 2008, was never recruited. Be interesting to find out how and why the plans were changed?

  11. Slowpoke says:

    I wonder if he/she has called a lawyer yet.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, please open your wallets, we will have to pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly who are we going to have to pay?

      • Slowpoke says:

        If I ask for a copy of my personnel records and am denied, then am no longer employed by the organization, (dismissed, or threatened with dismissal, or bullied and quit, or just quit but get rejected by every potential new employer…) and I am still denied, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who the plaintiff will be.

  12. Anonymous says:

    WOW!  But they have a chief Inspector in charge of Policies and procedures, too busy to do proper policies I guess. Wonder if there is a contingency plan written for bad press? 

    This Police administration is failing miserably.

    • Anonymous says:

      'Wonder if there is a contingency plan written for bad press?' ask for more money, and laws