Drugs dominate stop & search

| 20/08/2014

(CNS): Under section 41 of the police law, officers from the RCIPS have considerable powers to stop and search members of the public if they randomly decide a person may be carrying drugs, weapons or stolen goods, among other issues. Here in the Cayman Islands, an FOI request by CNS has revealed that ‘stop and searches’ carried out by RCIPs officers are dominated by suspicion over drugs but only 3% result in an arrest for an offence. In the UK police forces are coming under increasing pressure to review stop and search policies as figures there have also revealed that the policy is ineffectual in combating crime, that it is fuelled by prejudice and undermines police and community relationships.

The police in the Cayman Islands have the power to stop and search anyone if officers can state that they had a reasonable suspicion that an individual was in possession of drugs or weapons, among other items, but the 3% conversion rate demonstrates that those suspicions are rarely correct.

The FOI revealed that in 2013 officers from the various units of the RCIPS made 175 stop and searches as defined under section 41 of the law. Of those, 144 were based on drug suspicions, 14 were based on intelligence, eight merely because the people were considered suspicious, four on the basis of prohibited articles, three on suspicion of carrying stolen goods and just two as a result of suspicion over possession of firearms. Police confirmed, however, that just three percent of those people stopped were arrested, calling into question the use of the policy.

A spokesperson for the RCIPS explained that police officers also stop people for various targeted reasons which do not fall under the ‘stop and search’ policy but these more targeted stops result in a better conversion rate of arrest. During 2013 the police made 440 arrests as a result of vehicle stops for various reasons, which ranged from outstanding warrants, license plates identified at crime scenes, vehicle defects and other direct evidence.

“In addition to the section 41 stop and search powers there are multiple other powers conferred in law that would allow a person or vehicle to be stopped,” the police spokesperson told CNS in relation to the release of figures.

In these cases the stop and search is more focused and the suspicion is usually backed by evidence and intelligence, leading, more often than is the case with random stop and searches, to police actually apprehending criminals rather than allegations of harassment.
In the UK the stop and search policy has been heavily criticised as the conversion rates, although better than in Cayman, are also very low and the policy has been labelled as racist.

Earlier this year, Home Secretary Theresa May pledged to tighten rules on stop-and-search amid warnings that as many as 250,000 searches a year may have been illegal. UK politicians have also suggested that police officers carrying out stop and searches should wear body cameras to crack down on abuse.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The plight of Winston Kodogo, victim of countless searches and arrests by Constable Savage et al is evidence enough that "stop and search" laws are unfair and discriminatory.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Police state!


    Search Youtube for Copblock!     Know your rights! 

  3. Anonymous says:

    175 stop and searches in a year, is roughly one every other day.  Where are our RCIPS officers the rest of the time?

  4. Control says:

    "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me— and there was no one left to speak for me."
  5. Just'nothaBayah says:

    I have a 'dashcam' which records video and audio inside and outside the vehicle at all times.  It constantly records police and other government vehicles defying every traffic law on a daily basis.  Remove the log from your own eye before you attmept to remove the spec of dust from mine!  These cameras are common in countries where onerous police activities and criminal activities are rampant.  Perhaps it's time to have more of them in Cayman?

    Inconveniencing 97% of the motoring public and causing unneccesary trafic congestion for a 3% return??  This is madness!  What business would survive if only3% of its walk-in customers made a purchase?  The resources expended for that return is not reasonable when other criminal and trafic violations are so prolific.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As this is the case, where can I provide free information of names,home address, hangouts and times to go by and check it out of people that fit the description. Not that it is the entire place, but just go house to house in west bay. The police can't say they don't know the regular drug houses. It is easy to see where the unemployed hangout. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    The police are doing an outstanding job. Lets not make it hard for them to do their job. If anything these type of activities should increase.  And let's get a unit out there ticketing these cars with the heavy window tilt. Fine m and strip it off.

  8. Walker says:
    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " Ben Franklin
    • Judean peoples front says:

      I wonder what he had in his pockets when he came up with that?

      • WalkerRanger says:

        Dunmatta what he had in his pockets. It was his and not anybody elses business. Espeically not the police or the states business. 

  9. Anonyanmous says:

    This is a good thing on any given day or night there are people gathering under trees and smoking drugs, this would be a good thing to check out.  There are too many of these people handing out in various area through the island and turning good neighbourhoods into ghettos.

  10. Anonymous says:

    DO NOT stop these Stop & Search activities!  We need them now more than ever!  Even if only 3% of the stops result in an arrest for drugs or weapons, IT'S WORTH IT!   I would GLADLY give up some personal freedoms and inconvenience if it means the streets of Cayman are safer and these thugs are taken out of the population. The "stop & frisk" policy in other parts of the world have been shown to work in reducing crime..

    And I don't want to hear any cry-baby complaints about "discrimination" or "human rights abuses" from the weak-minded who think the world would be a happier place if we're all kept cowering in fear.  That's all crap used to keep innocent people like me and my family from being able to live our lives without becoming yet another victim of these thugs.  The ever-growing crime problem can no longer be ignored.  I support the RCIP!

    Stop & Search all you want!  Do even MORE!  We, the law-abiding public support you!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Section 41 is a doorway to an abuse of power. Just because some joker is all tricked out in a fancy costume, it does not mean that he/she has a clean heart operating in the spirit of the law.

    I was illegally searched once. Fortunately, they found no contraband (not that I had any) but if they had wanted to plant some, it would have been easy. The police are enforcers for our corporate enslavers. Don't pay a fine and you are off to jail, rape or murder someone and you are treated leniently.

    This just goes to show tha government exalts money above people. I believe we were warned about all this before we threw away The Book?


  12. Anonymous says:

    Not all stop & search will result in an arrest which too often either the media or public will mistaken as the only way to truly measure the effectiveness of this tactic. This is so evident from this report as it highlights that 3% resulted in arrests. What is not known however, is how many of these prevented persons who were on their way to commit a crime?The key is to ensure that the persons stopped & searched are individuals known within the police environment as actively seeking to committ crimes and this tactic is not used as a blanket appraoch. It should be based on outcome as oppose to output and outcome could well mean the reduction of certain levels of criminality whether it be shootings, robbery, or burglary. too much emphaise is placed on measureable end product of the stop & search and not the preventable aspect which isharder to measure.

  13. Ironside says:

    “Unreasonable haste is the direct road to error.” ~ Moliere.

    ____’But the terrorists!’ – Hopefully that term will not be used as further excuse to do random stops and searches of the public by the Force. I’ll wait and see. Thank you for doing this FOI request, CNS.

  14. Logic says:

    The Drug Law is the most powerful Police Law that can be abuse by the police. It is so powerful that an officer can enter into your house without a warrant just because he suspects drugs.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Results from "Suspection" or "Speeding" will only be the two mean reasons that a Police Officer will find drugs, firearms etc in a moving vehicle, because I and many more who use the public roads truthfully know that "jet black windows", "black smoke"  and "covered license plates" will never be used to defeat crime.  How in Hell can so many cars be on the road day and night with  black windows, covered plates and black smoke pipping in your face. Where are the police? I saw one parked offby Countyside a weeks ago smiling with airphones and literally swinging in his seat to music, now really are this what our government is supporting. Wake up Cayman we are on the edge of a major disaster in this country. Pray without ceasing!

    • Anonymous says:

      I was subject to suspection once but i have since had the operation reversed.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Their will be an increase in fines for not wearing a seatbelt, not indicating, ignoring a stop sign etc etc.

    The real criminals will go free. Actually the price for drugs will go up, since the risk becomes bigger. When the price goes up, crime will benefit and become more lucrative and explode.


  17. Anonymous says:

    Make sure you can record audio and video when stopped by police.

    The criminals at the top will never be arrested, since their connections are well established.

    The public will suffer for minor offences, while the real criminals go free.