Madame Speaker takes top cops to task

| 01/03/2009

(CNS): The failure to man the North Side police station and not enough visible policing in the district were the key issues that residents said they were concerned about when Acting Commissioner James Smith, Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis and Area Commander Richard Barrow hosted a community meeting on Thursday evening. The district representative and Speaker of the House Edna Moyle pointed out to the senior officers that she herself had voted funding for nine full-time officers for the district and wanted to know where they were.

In a lively meeting where a number of those in attendance complained about policing levels in the community and a very real perception of an increase in crime, Smith was introduced to the challenges of policing in a district that is geographically wide but sparsely populated and where many property owners are absent.

Moyle, the district’s MLA asked how many officers were currently serving North Side and why whenever she asked a police officer working the district which station he was based at none ever stated North Side. “I have fought for 16 years to get twenty-four hour policing for our district,” she said adding that she had voted during finance committee to ensure North Side would be served by nine officers but she was no longer convinced that the district was being policed by that number. She also raised concerns about why no officers were ever at the North Side police station on which public money had been spent to renovate it. “I see patrol cars parked outside the police station with no one in them and not one at the station this appears to be simply misleading the people of North Side into thinking their district is being policed,” Moyle added getting agreement from other residents present.

Smith said that at present North Side was down two officers with seven due to a people leaving the service for various reasons. He said however that he RCIPS were recruiting 12 new officers and at least one would be allocated to the North Side area post training. He explained that nine was not an awful lot of people when divided over 3 day shifts and across a seven day week.

Barrow explained that the reason why people may see cars parked outside the unmanned station is because the officers will be patrolling in another car with a colleague but would have left one car in the district in order for extra quick response if necessary, meaning cars don’t always have to come from Bodden Town. Burrows also said that all North Side officers are part of the Eastern District Team and as Area Commander he likes to ensure that all of them rotate around the districts and so become familiar with the local issues hence why different officers crop up.

Despite his explanations Moyle said she still wanted to see more patrolling and visible policing in the districts and that parking cars outside stations was not enough. “This is not the dumping district of the Cayman Islands we deserve full policing, “Madame Speaker said. “The people are blaming me for the inadequate levels of policing and I have fought for better police coverage for years and I expect this district to be equal to any other.”

Her constituents agreed and many said they felt there simply were not enough police officers being seen in the district and the criminals were learning that they could get away with crime in North Side. Residents said the lack of police patrols in the district was further high-lighted by the RCIPS neglect of most of North Side during the recent Mardi Gras celebrations at Kaibo when some 30 plus officers were policing that event and completely ignoring speeders rushing through the heart of North Side itself.

The issue of a recent spate of burglaries and rising crime was also cited by a number of residents particularly those that own or manage vacation properties. Roy Johnson from J&J Enterprises who has been dealing with vacation rentals in the area for decades said he was very concerned about what was happening with the number of break-ins and robberies as he said it was the worst he had ever known it and worse was the fact that tourists were beginning to feel it as well. “This is putting tourists off, people don’t feel safe here anymore,” he said.

Barrow said however, that there has been no recorded increase in crime in the area and while there had been a recent spate of burglaries the individuals had been arrested and a recent prowler seen attempting to break into holiday condos around Rum Point was also arrested.

Residents raised concerns, about drugs, young people causing trouble, loud parties on the beach speeding and bright blue lights in cars racing through the community. All issues they said if the police were around more could be addressed.

The local community neighbourhood police officer was also questioned about what he was actually doing and when he explained the various initiatives and programmes he had started he said no more than a handful of people ever turned up.

 

 

 

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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What Politics have to do with it, North Side District is nice and quiet and the only person we have to speak out for us or we can run to for help or something is Ms Edna Moyle. I do not see no North Sider running to any other MLA for help. I strongly agrees to what Ms. Moyle said at the Meeting with the Commissioners.

    I can honestly sayshe had always had the interest of North Side People at her heart and was and still is willing to help in any way if she can.

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    Now politcians want to get up and have a say? Are they kidding us? We must really be fool as Alden said.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think that having Police in North Side more often than normal is a good thing, but what North Siders needs Officers that knowns North Side, the people there as well. North Side Police Station need to have someone inside the Station to assist people who is need of help, instead for them to have to drive  to Bodden Town or George Town Station for Assistant.

    I honestly agrees with what Ms. Moyle had to say, we need more police officers in our little districts. We need more activities for our kids and young people, so we can avoid them hooking up with drug dealers.

  4. Nicky Watson says:

    I have deleted one comment. CNS invites andwelcomes contributions from political candidates to the discussions in this forum, but please could we stick to the issues and leave out the name calling.

  5. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    A "customer" is the purchaser of paid goods or services from individuals or companies called sellers.  When a customer is seeking to purchase goods or services offered by a private company, the seller has to maintain a good relationship with customers to retain them.  Simple concept, right?

    Well apparently not; you see when the "seller" is a government agency called the RCIPS, where some officers feel they’re doing us a favor in exchange for our tax dollars used by the Governor and Ministers of Government to pay their salaries, etc., we get a raw deal.  The time to change that attitude is now; I expect better service from the RCIPS.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is typical of the lazy attitude that pervades public service today. God forbid if the paycheck was 10 minutes late. Please, please Cayman, find police who actually care, ‘cos these jokers either don’t or have an agenda for martial law.

    If martial law is their agenda, then this is one caymanian who will oppose will all vigour.