Archive for February 14th, 2013

Cops plan cell scrub down

| 14/02/2013 | 14 Comments

(CNS): In the face of a damning report from the UK’s prison inspectorate about the appalling conditions at both the George Town and West Bay police lock-ups, RCIPS management has said it is taking steps to try and clean-up and redecorate the cells in which prisoners are held while in police custody. The report described filthy, hot conditions, unhygienic facilities and graffiti-covered cell walls. Responding to the report, which described the conditions as “barely fit for human habitation”, the police said they welcomed the report, which had once again raised the issue of the about the conditions at the lock-ups and the desperate need for investment.

“Our position on the cells is well known; they are not fit for purpose,” a police spokesperson stated. “And we have concerns about the safety risks to prisoners as well as the opportunities for those in custody to exchange information with co-accused … We are also aware that there are steps that we can take, while awaiting the investment, to try and improve the conditions within the cell area such as decoration, cleaning etc. We are working to make these improvements as expeditiously aspossible."

While the report highlighted the poor environmental conditions in which detainees are being held, it also pointed to other major problems, including the way they were being treated and the lack of training for officers working on custody duty. The report revealed that one officer watched videos on YouTube to see how law enforcement in the US managed lock-ups.

The police said that while the RCIPS awaited the necessary major investment to upgrade the cells, training was already underway for officers.

“We have addressed the associated policy and training issues and have ensured that all staff who work in the custody areas have received appropriate training,” officers stated.

The issue of the problems in the lock-up were not only detailed in the report but the day to day realities were highlighted in the Grand Court as well last week when a teenage boy accused of arson pleaded guilty to the offence after setting fires at both West Bay and George Town stations.

The court heard that the youngster, who was only 16 years old at the time, had been held in a cell at West Bay police station for more than two days without being charged and had been mistreated by the officers. When he tried to attract attention to get water and food he was ignored and as a result he set a fire to attract attention. The fire was put out and the boy rescued before he or anyone else was hurt.

Following a further five days in custody at George Town police station, again without charge, the teen was moved to inner cells far away from the guard post, despite being a minor, and was again neglected by officers and so resorted to setting a fire to attract attention.

However, on the second occasion the fire was not noticed until it was out of control and officers couldn’t get to the boy, who was still locked in the cell, because of smoke. He was eventually rescued from the blaze by fire officers but not before he sustained serious lung injuries.

See full UK prison inspectors report below regarding the police cells.

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Tourist hit by car dies in Canadian hospital

| 14/02/2013 | 26 Comments

(CNS): Updated — The woman arrested on suspicion of DUI after hitting a pedestiran, who has since died as a result of his injuries, answered her bail and was questioned in connection with the matter but has not yet been charged, police have confirmed. At around 10:30pm on Friday, 8 February, the female driver of a white Toyota, hit a 66-year-old Canadian man, who was visiting Cayman with his family, as he tried to cross the West Bay Road by the Lone Star restaurant. According to the local press in the town of Regina in Canada, Dan Marce, who suffered multiple serious injuries when he was run down, had been transferred from Miami to the hospital in his home town, where he passed away on Wednesday. 

Police confirmed Thursday following the announcement of Marce's death that the woman remained on bail as investigations into the accident continued. An RCIPS spokesperson added that she had been interviewed and, pending completion of the investigation, a file would be submitted to the legal department for a ruling.

"Once the legal department has reviewed the file and the evidence gathered, they will advise on what, if any, charges should be laid against the driver," the RCIPS stated.

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