CoP: Traffic unit poor use of resources

| 04/09/2015 | 30 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The RCIPS traffic unit was disbanded “because it was not an efficient use of resources”, the commissioner of police (CoP) has said in response to concerns raised in the recent report by visiting UK criminal justice advisor (CJA), Claire Wetton, about the management of traffic cases going through the local courts. David Baines noted, however, that the closure of the unit did not mean that resources were not being dedicated to policing traffic offences. An average of 180 tickets and citations were issued every two weeks, which, on an island this size, is quite a lot, he pointed out.

“We regularly run traffic operations, such as the operation in North Side on 9 August or the operation last week on Linford Pierson Highway.  Both operations yielded a high number of citations,” he said, adding that the RCIPS still had the same officers, expertise and capacity in traffic matters but those officers now worked across the service as well.

In her report Wetton queried the closure of the unit and also advised the local authorities to amend the traffic ticket process. She said that there was a “significant issue in relation to the quality of traffic files” that are going to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

“The CJA was advised that the quality of the evidential files has reduced since the traffic unit, which was a successful unit, was disbanded,” Wetton wrote in her report. “There is the necessary expertise within the RCIPS, however there is no longer a centralised traffic unit and this has a significant effect on the quality of the files delivered to the ODPP. Traffic prosecutions are a significant proportion of cases heard in the summary court and the quality of the files continue to be a reason for adjournments. I do not know why the traffic unit was disbanded and this may have been done for good reasons, but if it were possible to assess the effect this has had on file quality, consideration could be given to whether it needs to be re-established in some format,” she added.

Cayman News Service

Traffic Inspector Adrian Barnett

Baines explained that the traffic unit was merged into the wider services in 2011 when violent gang-related action culminated in six young men being shot, five fatally, over an eleven-day period.

“Simultaneously, staffing levels had fallen, due to a freeze on recruitment, and the RCIPS was some 70 staff short.  It was a time when the public expected our resources to be directed toward restoring law and order, and we did just that, and we did it successfully,” he said, pointing to the recent fall in crime figures.

Addressing the criticisms about the quality of the files, Baines told CNS that the RCIPS had not been informed about any concerns over traffic file quality until Wetton’s report and that intended to look into the issue. He said that in relation to the comments made by the ODPP, all the files still go through Traffic Inspector Adrian Barnett before being submitted to prosecutors.

“If a specific failing in regard to traffic files is evident, we will address it by training and respond to any criticism or failings with a commitment to improve,” Baines added.

Despite Wetton’s advice regarding the recreation of the unit, Baines pointed to the need for police to work on all crimes. All crime, including serious, violent crime, has been steadily falling, with a 25% drop this year already, and the CoP said the RCIPS wanted to maintain that trend, which meant keeping officers working crime as well as traffic.

“The fact remains that there are other crimes that are also matters of public priority, such as burglaries and thefts, and we need officers to be able to respond to those as well.  We expect officers to enforce traffic and other laws as well,” he added.

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  1. anonymous says:

    The careless and lawless driving is completely out of control. There is absolutely no respect for any traffic regulation, starting with illegal parking, overtaking, speeding, not yielding when entering a traffic circle and sadly lives are be taken as a result. Burglaries may be well be a priority but innocent people dying as a result of this ongoing reckless driving should take priority. A respect for the law and regulations starts with the observance of the traffic laws, if people cannot adhere to these basic laws, why would they respect any other laws that are in place. Government needs money – make the penalties tougher, increase the fines. There is a fortune to made by spot fining every driver that does not yield or stop at the entrance of a traffic circle.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why are the police cars always parked at the Bodden Town Station instead of patrolling and driving around in the Eastern Districts???? Surely if a crime has been committed they can be called while out on the road, or do they have to sit by a desk in AC to take the dispatch?

  3. Anonymous says: must remember we are a small island in a large ocean with only 55,000 + or minus inhabitants. Most small towns in the U.K or the U.S are this population and mere suburbs in cities are double , triple , quadruple. They have taxpayers to fund highway patrols and dedicated traffic units that only do traffic. I’d be satisfied if the police here can catch the guy on the motorcycle that pulls wheelies for miles , on an unlicensed bike that has no number plate or turn signal indicators , red trim colour bike , 4 stroke engine , he wears a Darth Vader helmet . Savannah Newlands is a place to start looking for him.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree that the roads are becoming more and more hazardous as noted. The difficulties with large vehicles on the roundabouts, some of which have overturned these past months, is a serious accident waiting to happen.

    The RCIPS need to get with the NRA and figure out why some roundabouts and sections of the Harquail such as the one between Governor’s Harbour going to Batabano in WB are simply not safe when huge vehicles are using them. A medium size car driving the required speed or less has difficulty staying in the lane when coming into the roundabouts near turnoffs such as just beyond the new Yacht Club turnoff going back to town.

    It may seem great to have some of these roadways “donated” to us but if the NRA are not doing “due diligence”, people’s lives are put at risk on a daily basis.

    Pls let’s have a response from the RCIPS and the NRA. Clearly these are critical matters.

  5. Raffaelle says:

    Dissolving our Traffic Department was foolish but so is this commissioner’s crime strategy but all is part of a greater plan for the Cayman islands. Ask yourself why did this Governor try to suppress this report, written by one of their very own experts? by calling it a “working document”. You see the report highlighted the problems we are experiencing in our criminal justices system are directly attributed to or are a direct result of their piss poor decisions and the inept and incompetent and deliberate actions of those who are incharge of this place.Yet we still have some who run around still believing they are here for us.

  6. A-Anonymouse says:

    Is his badge crooked?…
    Or did I put too much gin on my cornflakes again?

  7. Zazuki says:

    Yet another terrible accident on Linford Pierson Highway today another testament to Baines Big Ideas on polcing, saying that Cayman don’t hate player Cayman hate the BIG fCO game they got going on these little islands.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What was the point of doing those community clinics to in supermarkets and hospitals if they are not going to act on what the public is concerned about? I travel up to north side everyday and am scared for my life when an idiot over takes on a bend at 50 miles and an hour. I had to pull over one morning because I was shaking so much, he came that close on the wrong side of the road. They can kill themselves with their speed and drinking and driving for all I care, but when they kill innocent people like myself it doesn’t bear thinking about.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Work smarter not harder! Please for once say what RCIP can do instead of always making one excuse after another. Two list two traffic operations conducted almost three weeks apart as an example is beyond poor! Traffic laws need to be enforced. It all is one domino effect……….

  10. Anonymous says:

    If you want police to ticket traffic offenses as a sideline to their main job of reducing overall crime you have to make it easier for them to do so. Let’s say they are off to see a burglary victim and spot someone breaking a traffic law, if they know it will take them 15 minutes to write up a ticket, another 2 hours to put a prosecution file together, another 2 hours for a court appearance, what exactly do you think they will do? Focus on the victim, or take on another 1/2 day’s work for an $80 fine, possibly at a detriment to the robbery investigation.

    If you make all traffic offenses an admin job, except those of dangerous driving, DUI etc, you should be able to crack down on the bad driving without either a dedicated team, or a reduction in service elsewhere, heck just snap a picture on a phone and email it!

  11. Anonymous says:

    When we did have a functioning traffic unit, people had respect for the Police. I think the salary we are paying this CoP is “a poor use of resources”.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think spending all that money on those new cruisers they love to coast around in so much was a complete waste of resources!

  13. Anonymous says:

    The experience of the UK over the past 15-odd years is that disbanding dedicated traffic units is not a smart move. I originally come from a county in the South of England where there was a 60% increase in road fatalities the first year after traffic was merged into general duties in the way RCIPS has done. The following year they went back to high profile roads policing and the figures fell back to about the norm. To be done properly traffic policing is a specialised role that requires specific experience and skills. If your are going to mix it in with everything else you might just as well employ traffic wardens to do it, they’d probably be as effective.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Does CoP Baines ever leave his air conditioned office and drive around this island? No matter what time of day, or which part of the island I drive in, all I see is a total disregard for the traffic law. Its lawless out there and the few law abiding citizens take their lives in their own hands on a daily basis. There needs to be a zero tolerance policy, but especially of tinted licence plates, how can an infraction be reported if you can’t see the licence, the law is quite clear on the requirements for plates.

  15. Anonymous says:

    So many like to confuse luck with talent: how many of these murderers have they successfully convicted and when? 400 officers and they can’t spare 20 for a functional/profitable Traffic detail. The cost to public sentiment should be reason enough to reinstate this department.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Baines. Pull the guy off Walkers Rd. He is way out of his depth and causing delays double the norm with his ignorant attempts to “help”. He is going to get hurt.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Police dealing with traffic? Sound way in GT is one of the few one way street we have and, yet, the most abused, yesterday morning at 6:54 am a white SUV was driving against the traffic flow and run into a marked Police car, the officer didn’t even bother to step out of the Suzuki, just changed some words with the driver and part, both of them with a smile. I regret not video recording the whole event, because I had to stop behind the officer until he finished “reprimanding” the other driver. imagine that…

  18. Anonymous says:

    verb (used with object), policed, policing.
    to regulate, control, or keep in order by or as if by means of police.

    the act or process of enforcing.
    something that enforces.

    verb (used with object), enforced, enforcing.
    to put or keep in force; compel obedience to:
    to enforce a rule; Traffic laws will be strictly enforced.

  19. Cass says:

    Pretty much zero police presence ever on these roads. Question is, where are they for most of the day? Nobody cares though, they don’t care about the people they are supposed to be serving, and they abuse their authority all the time. Sad what Cayman has come to because years ago we had decent, friendly officers, who actually gave a damn about their posts and the people they serve. Now it’s all about who has the bigger wheenie. EGOS I tell ya.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you regarding the almost total absence of a police presence on our roads. Speaking from my own experience, for the longest time (years) my sighting of a police vehicle has been something of an extraordinary experience : “I actually saw a police car today” I’d say to my wife. Very recently I have begun to spot them more frequently, but judging from the multiple traffic law infractions I am still seeing (tailgating/speeding/not indicating/not giving way/erratic driving/not stopping at a junction/talking on the phone/careless driving – you get the picture!) clearly the police are not serving to deter anybody deciding to flout the rules of the road. I want to see the miscreants on our roads being pulled over and made to pay, and I am sure I am not alone in this desire.

  20. Anonymous says:

    If he won’t listen to the advisor or the publics wishes then he has a problem. From what I read people including me are sick and tired of driving hooligans risking our lives everyday because they are on the phone, texting, not paying attention, fooling around, tinted windscreen Hondas driving at Lewis Hamilton speeds but without the skill and God alone knows if they have guns in their cars, or maybe drunk. My commute is just 3 minutes, and everyday I better be prepared for another idiot trying to kill us. He can cite how many tickets in two weeks, but he could easily quadruple that until people get the message. That message has to be zero tolerance.

    • Anonymous says:

      I witnessed police stopping cars and noted, in doing so, how many traffic laws they themselves were violating.

  21. caymanaindonkey says:

    All I can say is the income produced by the old traffic unit would I assume with issuing of tickets. So how can Mr Baines say it is not a good use of resources!

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s the archaic ticketing system that is the problem. The courts can’t handle the amount of offenses that could be ticketed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Resources should be the last thing on his mind. The safety of our citizens trumps it all.
      One thing i have mentioned many times to the police, the carelessness of our cargo trucks, mainly hauling construction materials.

      90% of the cargo carried on these trucks are insufficiently fastened. How can you tie down one ton of steel with a piece of rope or string that only has the strength to hold 50 lbs? a ton of steel weighs 2,000 lbs.
      Should that truck gets out of control and swerve, or has to stop suddenly, that ton of steel will automatically become a missile.
      I appeal to the traffic department to implement in the traffic laws, that all hard ware stores, including our block factory with cargo, to not let any vehicles leave their compound without proper straps. These heavy duty straps are available at all hardware stores. Furthermore all truck when being inspected for re-license should have these straps.

      • Anonymous says:

        Update : never let it be said that posting on CNS is an exercise in futility – this morning I spotted a police car on the roundabout near AL Thompsons, and then, shockingly, one emerging from the store as I was indicating to turn in!!!!!

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