Police given power to tag bailed suspects

| 02/03/2010

(CNS): The country’s legislators have passed a law to enable police officers to fit suspects they release on bail under a curfew with an electronic tagging device without going to the courts for permission. Under the existing legislation officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service can release suspects on police bail and impose a curfew if they feel the suspect is likely to repeat offend. The change in the law will allow the RCIPS to tag those suspects when released to prevent them from breaking curfews and re-offending while police continue their investigations to bring charges.

The law was brought to the LA on Monday (1 March) by Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks, who explained that it was simply an amendment but would greatly assist the police in being able to keep an eye on known offenders in the community and allow certain categories of suspects to be kept out of custody while enquiries continue.

Ebanks explained that the tagging devices use GPS and enable police to set an electronic fence for a suspect, usually within the confines of their homes. The electronic devices are linked to the 911 Emergency Communication Centre, which would be alerted the second a tagged suspect stepped outside the electronic boundary.

He stressed that the new law does not give the police any new or extra powers to bail those they have arrested but merely gives them a more secure way of bailing certain types of offenders. Electronic tagging has already been used by the courts and this would simply extend the authority to use the devices to police officers. He confirmed that the tag could be used on individuals who had not been charged with any crimes but were under investigation.

Extending the use of the device would be welcomed by the police, the deputy governor said. He explained that often the type of offenders likely to be bailed on curfew were also the offenders likely to go and commit the same offence they were just bailed for again, almost as soon as they leave the station.

"The bill does not extend the current authority of the police to impose a curfew on a person granted bail," Ebanks explained. "It should improve the effectiveness of the exercise of that authority by providing actual evidence of violations of a curfew."

With overcrowding at the George Town central lock up and other police stations being a serious problem, Ebanks added that the amendment to thelaw would allow the police to bail suspects and offenders more securely while easing the pressure on the cells and still allow them to conduct their investigations and prevent the suspects from committing further crimes.

The legislation was supported by both sides of the House.

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  1. Twyla Vargas says:

    Thanks to Mr Donovan for bring this Law to the LA,s Attention.  It was needed.

    It is time that the Governemnt become agressive in tackling crime at whatever it cost.   Looking forward to see all these laws that have been introduced, passed quickly.

    To the POlice Force I say keep up the intelligence and vigilent good work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well done. Cayman finally makes it to the new millenium… Better late than never.

  2. Anonymous says:


    Can be a good tool use by the Government to control and oppress innocent people who petitions the government for greviances.

    A fine tool indeed in the hands of the legal system we trust.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes but it only works if an inidviudal has a phone line which means the government have to install a home phone line to each house where a defendant is.  Incidentally this has not yet been used in Cayman – the report says electroncic tagging has been used by the courts – in England yes, here no.

    If someone breaks the tag off it costs several hundred dollars (nearly 250 pounds sterling in uk – look forward to the cost here).  It just doesn’t work in England – it certainly isn’t going to work here.



    • Rorschach says:

      Sorry, but your  info is incorrect.  The individual only need a means of communication.. and in this day and age of cell phones, that is all one needs…and it DOES NOT have to be provided by the GOV….and YES it has been used in Cayman…

  4. Facts says:

    I am beginning to see some sense of a Law Enforcement Strategy being introduced. What is so good about this Law is that it will actually prevent crime. How many times have we heard of persons on bail committing crimes.

    Well done to all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many, many offences are committed whilst on bail, we have the equipment-MAKE IT WORK, not just an ornament! 

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is the kind of sensible legislation that can be passed whenoth sides of the house agree toork together.


    Good job!

  6. Bobby Anonymous says:

    What about Marine Enforcement? Can they do the same? Please say yes, it would save thousands of Conch and lobsters etc etc.

    • Rorschach says:

      Yes, as special constables, they have the same authority when it comes to the bail law as the rest of the RCIPS..

      • Anonymous says:

        I am afraid your wrong. The last commissioner stripped them of all special constable powers.

        • Rorschach says:

          I believe I stand corrected.  Thank you for pointing that out…another GREAT move by someone who knew everything…

          However, under the Bail Law, any person who can affect an arrest, can present that person to the custody officer for bail and conditions can be imposed, including the now power of electronic monitoring…so the DOE "should" be able to use this new tool to keep poachers out of the Marine Parks…

          • Bobby Anonymous says:

            I may be wrong but I don’t belive the DOE officers have any powers of arrest.

            They only have the powers to stop, search and seize any illegal marine life and thats it.

            So I would think they cannot carry hancuffs, battons or pepper spray. I wonder what they musy use to defend themselves from spear guns, fillet knives etc etc.

            The new Conservation bill would give them all powers.

          • frank rizzo says:

            Providing it is an arrestable offence.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you to our legislators from passing this amendment.

    Now please get on with the rest of what needs to be done:

    Double the minimum enalties for all violent crime – no more slaps on the wrists. 

    Amend the law so that there is no possibility of parole for persons convicted of violent crime. The prison seems to act as a revolving door at the moment.

    Make it much more difficult for persons accused of violent crime to get bail. If there is enough evidence to bring the charge then there is enough evidence to minimise the possibility that these people will be on the street intimidating witnesses and committing other crimes of violence – curfews are simply not adequate to prevent witness intimidation and day time violence. If all you do is make the most violent stay home at night – they will kill people in broad day light. 

    Amend the law so that persons released from prison on parole for burglery and similar crimes are also required to wear tags with GPS transmitters – these devices are readily available. There are a bunch of career burglers that are repeat offenders many times over. When they are locked up burgleries go way down, as soon as they are out burgleries go way up until they are locked up again. We would waste far fewer police resources if it was easy to prove where the likely suspects were at the time of each burglery.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reply to "THANK YOU TO OUR LEGISLATORS". A very good suggestion. Just hope it dosent fall on deaf ears.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am surprised that they didn’t have this authority already.  Makes sense to me.