Panel to choose top cop

| 12/03/2009

(CNS): Following a tumultuous year for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) which saw four police commissioners following the suspension of Stuart Kernohan (left) from the post 27 March 2008, Governor Stuart Jack has announced that the new police commissioner will be selected, not solely by the UK through his office as done previously, but by a panel that will include private sector representatives which will take community input into account.

The position, which has been advertised locally, regionally and internationally, has attracted 37 applicants from eleven different countries, including the current Acting PC James Smith and former RCIPS Detective Chief Superintendent Derek Haines. Short-listed candidates will go through a two-day recruitment process on island in March and April. It is anticipated that the successful candidate will take up his or her duties in June or July 2009.

At Cabinet press briefing this morning, Minister Alden McLaughlin described the recruitment panel as "a step in the right direction", and pointed out that under the new proposed Constitution, the Cayman Islands would have a National Security Council which would appoint police commissioners.

Describing the new recruitment process as “a move towards greater community involvement in Cayman’s policing”, the Governor’s Office announced this morning, Thursday 12 March, that Governor Jack will chair the panel, which comprises lawyer and partner with the Maitland Group, Sara Collins; accountant and Regional Managing Partner with Ernst and Young, Dan Scott; Deputy Chief Secretary for the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, Donovan Ebanks, who will serve as deputy chair; and Strategic Advisor for the portfolio, Peter Gough.

The panel will also include policing expert, David Blakey from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in the UK. Blakey was formerly Chief Constable of West Mercia Constabulary and President of the Association of Chief Police Officers. He also inspected the Bermuda Police Service and the Gibraltar Police. Blakey recently produced a report for the Prison Service in 2008 on how illicit drugs get into prisons and is a Commissioner with the United Kingdom Drugs Policy Commission.

The release from the governor said he had given the task of recruitment to the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, which had established the new process and would assist the panel to take soundings from the community and other stakeholders so that they could hear what the community considers important in the area of policing.

The governor said in his release, “I recognize that community stakeholder involvement is critical to the development of a modern effective police force. In this regard, the process and the recruitment panel for the new commissioner of police reflect those stakeholders.” He added, “An important part of modern policing world-wide increasingly involves citizens and customers in shaping the way they operate and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is no exception.”

Deputy Chief Secretary Ebanks added, “We are extremely fortunate to have the services of Sara Collins and Dan Scott; they will bring a broad range of expertise to the selection process.” Gough predicted that the community soundings would provide very useful information to the selectionpanel and underscored the importance of empowering citizens through an enhanced role for the public’s voice in policing.

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