Cops learn search techniques for container operation

| 01/08/2014

(CNS): The customs and police officers who are now involved in a major joint operation to recover stolen goods that law enforcement officers believe are being stored in containers and shipped overseas have been learning some new search techniques to ensure they don't mess up any investigators and potential prosecutions. The team involved with ‘Operation Spearfish’, which involves 25 customs and four police officers as well as sniffer dogs, learnt how to effectively and safely search people, vehicles and buildings as well as deal with the necessary paperwork.

Officials said that they expect more swoops in the operation over the coming weeks following the seizure of six containers recently, as they focus on this area in the local crime fight. 

Collector of Customs Samantha Bennett warned that how searches are conducted could determine the success or failure of the investigations and so it was important that officers learned to get it right.

The customs department is currently reviewing its systems and processes to enhance its ability to interdict transhipment of stolen goods. Changes include moving goods meant for export into a special area prior to them being loaded. 

“Cargo containers are a major area of concern in terms of security and vulnerability. The process of securing, tracking and inspecting them at various locations can sometimes be difficult and involves considerable manpower,” the assistant collector of customs, Jeff Jackson, said.

Stolen goods can remain undetected even by high-tech solutions including x-rays, especially when decisions have to be made quickly to avoid delays and negative impact on legitimate trade, he added. “At the same time, the loopholes in detection and detention of stolen goods must be closed and the process reinforced. Interception of stolen goods should never be by luck or chance.”

Bennett added that a review of the process of exporting full containers with personal items is currently underway. This will be streamlined to be monitored in a controlled environment to mitigate any risk factors of not only stolen items leaving the country but also prohibited items.

“However, our approach has to be one that is practical, assuming that the majority of items that are exported on a normal basis are done so in a compliant manner. We hope to have the new process in place by the end of August,” she said. 

Customs Training Manager Langlie Powery emphasised that learning, whether it occurred on the job or in the classroom, would help the team to “work smarter”.  He said the training will prove useful for seasoned officers as a refresher course in search skills, but would be invaluable to new members of the team.

Jackson coordinated as well as taught the course at UCCI along with Police Sergeants Jonathan Horner and Daniel Cowan of the Operational and Uniform Support Groups.

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  1. Something to think about says:

    Operation Spearfish please include outbound air cargo?

  2. Anon says:

    Hope they got their training before they dug in and not after the fact. Or is this the reason there are no arrests? Did they mess up the first search, got training and now looking for new containers to search?

  3. Anonymous says:

    JUst make sure that the right people are overseeing.  No foreigners  please, watch all of them man and women.

    • joker says:

      Is it not law for a Caymanian to own 60%?  I will answer it… Yes!    or… Are you suggesting the whole thing involves ONLY foreigners and they need to be policed by Caymanian officers?

      • Anonymous says:

        It is the Law but it is entirely unenforced and it is likely that at least a third of businesses are not owned by Caymanians at all.

        • Anonymous says:

          It is a law which keeps the cost of living up and working class Caymanians out of employment.

      • Anonymous says:

        You're funny.

  4. Hear hear says:

    Good start with containers. Now please screen air cargo too.  No reason IPads, TVs, A/Cs, or boat engines should be leaving the island unless people are moving away and can prove it.

    looks like the best way to kill crime is to stop the flow of hot stolen items?  No market no business for the burglary rings?

    Finally policing 101 


  5. Anonymous says:

    I would hope that the head line has to do with the past containers and not the plan for the future. (cops learn search techniques for container operation)

    Tell me you not that daft  to let this stealing continue to go on in this country! We are losing our funitures, our appliances, our tools and equipment. These things have to be replace by the victims, who dont have the money to do so.

    Tell me you going wake up out of your mommy state and let these containers be loaded at the port authority compound.

    Why do we have to be lackies for the rest of the World?

  6. Anonymous says:

    The best "technique" to "ensure they don't mess up any investigations and prosecutions" would be to catch the perps red-handed, in my opinion. If they have been watching these containers for a prolonged period why have they not observed who is loading them?? Seems like this is an exercise in PR instead of real crime-fighting. At least owners should get their property back.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And they didn't know how to before they were let loose on the public, what the hell do they teach these guys at training school. Surely search techniques of the person and property are basics of the job, and whilst a container is a pretty big item to search, it's not rocket science.


    • Anonymous says:

      I'll tell you what they teach them to do best, in training, collect all the revenue you can. Dig up every piece of import that lands on these shores.

      Ignore the out-going containers with the residence stolen goods, there are no value or revenue to collect from them.

      Do you all understand what our government and authorities have come to?

      We are no better than the third world countries, we look down on. Cayman is broken and we will never ever be able to fix it.

      Look at the world news, there are people fighting in the streets, protesting against their governments.

      These same people were at one time loving and peaceful citizens. It's just a matter of time, we will become those same people.

      Governments throughout the World have become corrupted, and do not care for the wellfare of it's citizens. We have more than our lion share of the corrupted governments, they act like there is no tomorrow, so lets take it all now.