Cops facing messy issues

| 01/05/2013

_DEW3239-web.jpg(CNS): Although Commissioner of Police David Baines has been given another four year contract to head up the local cops, the RCIPS is going through a difficult time at present when it comes to internal affairs and issues over complaints. Against the backdrop of two lawsuits that have been filed by serving and former officers and a third from a member of the public, the Police Complaints Unit is said to be looking into further complaints about bust-ups between senior officers and complaints of inappropriate behaviour by others. In addition, concerns have been raised in the community over the reinstatement of an inspector just a few months after he had been stripped back to PC after a complaint was upheld.

Although the police management is extremely tight lipped regarding internal investigations and about any complaints about the conduct of its officers, it is understood that there are a number of significant issues plaguing the RCIPS at present in relation to the behaviour of officers to each other as well as to the public. Reports of excessive bullying by officers, prejudices concerning the treatment of officers and even complaints about sexual abuse are understood to be keeping the PCU busy.

Pressure is mounting for a separate police complaints commission, as the public has little faith in the current system, where complaints both from inside and outside the police are investigated by the police themselves

Following a legal action filed by a serving police constable against the chief inspector of George Town police station for assault, the RCIPS has also confirmed that the PCU received a complaint in March of common assault from another police officer from George Town about another senior officer.

“We can confirm that one officer has lodged a complaint of common assault against another,” a police spokesperson said last month. “The incident, which involved the officer allegedly prodding another, occurred within police premises on 28 March, when both were on duty, and an investigation is underway. No one was injured and neither of the officers have been suspended."

The RCIPS has refused to comment on the two legal actions that have been filed against the commissioner, one as a result of the alleged assault by Chief Inspector Frank Owens and the second as a result of the reported dismissal of a long serving officer without explanation.

"As it appears that these matters are subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate for the RCIPS to make any comment," the police said after the legal proceedings were filed.

Meanwhile, the RCIPS did confirm that a senior officer who had been stripped to PC has been reinstated to his previously held rank but made no comment about the matter. The police have remained tight lipped about this incident and CNS understands that the officer involved has also filed a complaint.

No updates have been offered to the public, which funds the RCIPS to the tune of more than $35 million per year, regarding a number of internal investigations into officers who crashed police vehicles, both on and off duty, or any other internal enquiries regarding questionable incidences or major mistakes, such as the disappearance of a police surveillance van, among others.

Another complaint has been filed regarding inappropriate sexual behaviour, which is also under investigation, the RCIPS has confirmed, but the officer in question, who is stationed on Cayman Brac, remains on duty. In another case where an officer on the Brac has been arrested for importing firearms accessories, he too remains at his post. However, an officer who is now going through the court system after pleading not guilty to corruption charges in relation to accusations of bribery has been suspended from duty.

Despite numerous complaints about the PCU, both inside and outside the service, the police management have stated that it is satisfied that the unit functions properly and is not biased.

"In 2008 the police complaints procedures and PSU underwent an external review resulting in, amongst other things, standardised operating procedures that mirror best practice and standards in advanced jurisdictions (UK) and, where appropriate, external legal advice will be sought from the DPP,” the police spokesperson stated. “As we have previously stated, we also welcome the appointment of a public independent complaints commission."

In addition to the messy internal affairs, the commissioner is also faced with a rise in violence against his officers as he begins his second contract. Nevertheless, the police management does not believe that the recent targeting of one officer, who was hit in the head outside an East End bar while monitoring a late night party crowd, and the alleged firing on officers by a group of people who fled on foot following a car chase, does not mean the community is turning on the service.

"These senseless acts have been committed by a few violent individuals who clearly have no regard for the law or for the Cayman Islands communities," an RCIPS spokesperson stated. “We are confident that the vast majority of law abiding and responsible citizens in these Islands fully support the RCIPS and would join with us in condemning these acts of violence against our officers."

The police went on to appeal for anyone with information that could assist with their enquiries into these incidents to contact their local police station, or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well I am a victim of crime twice this year so far!

    Been a victim of crime 10 times and the police are 0 for 10 

    I dont see any change to fighting crime and all I hear is new victims of crime………

    • Anonymous says:

      Well – their worn out excuse of "Caymanians are not able to police their relatives" is no longer relevant since we are now the minority.

      So does this cheap RCIPS psychology apply in reverse?

      SO now, what excuse is there for not hiring more Caymanians- and promoting them also.

      Never mind treating them and all officers with simple decency and respect!

      The bell is tolling for RCIPS

      • Anonymous says:

        It has been tolling for the islands for some time. The time will come to choose … You either have a Caymanian Police Force or a Royal Cayman Islands police service.

        Your call.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let me see if I have this correct, we are to report corrupt police activity to the police?  Does that make sense?

  3. Calico Jack says:

    If one examines the Police Complaints Department in 'advanced jurisdictions', one finds that they are rather more proactive and competent in dealing with complaints. There are specific time limits that must be met for officers to be warned of an investigation against them. Where there exists or may exist a conflict of interest, neighbouring police departments or constabularies are invited to head the investigation. There seems to be a degree of incompetence at best, or at worst a reluctance to adopt these processes here. How difficult could it be for the commissioner to pick up the phone and ask his opposite number in any of the other overseas territories, or common wealth countries for assitance? In particular where the case may be sensitive, political, or just beyond the ability of the individuals to deal with.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We desperately need more senior officers from the UK and more members of the PCU with experience of the UK procedures. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Better juries would help too.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you will find that the 'gentleman' running the day to day business in the PCD is English…

    • Anonymous says:

      Desperately needed – Police that are literate and can walk and chew gum at the same time!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cops here are useless, petty crime is out of control and they know who’s doing it but nothing is being done..

    • Anonymous says:

      What annoys me the most is that we are paying for them, yet they can't uphold and enforce the law.

      It  makes me sick to think how much money they could bring in on a weekly basis if they would uphold and enforce the traffic laws alone……..

  6. Slowpoke says:

    "Against the backdrop of two lawsuits that have been filed by serving and former officers…" that does not cover those working their way through the system and those that have been "settled", out of Court.

  7. Anonymous says:



  8. Anonymous says:

    It appears that the PSU itself needs a bit of transparency.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So with all of this happening why does the Governor, Dan and Bridgette think the best thing to do is give the man at the helm a contract for another four years? Why wasn't his job advertised? Why wasn't he given a shorter contract and told to train someone to do his job? Something stinks here!


    • Anonymous says:

      Would you really expect they would come here and train someone? That never happens, what really happens is they come here, a Caymanian show them the ropes, the Caymanian gets disrespected, mistreated, looked down on and given scrappy jobs to deal with.  Snobs!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Imperialism and colonialism are alive and well in the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      18.56 and all Caymanian officers would do better? Half the posts would go to Jamaicans or other nationalities anyway because caymanians don't want to do the job, and then you would get the cronyism, jobs for firends regardless of ability and all the rest. Careful what you wish for!

      • Anonymous says:

        So what are you saying… The current oppressors are not quite as bad as the group that would replace them.

    • bag of otter's noses says:

      yep, you can stick your imperialist titbits, we want real food.