Ombudsman to focus on cop complaints

| 21/12/2016 | 22 Comments

(CNS): Two pieces of legislation published on the government gazette this month will pave the way for the creation of an Ombudsman’s office that will take over the functions of the existing Office of the Complaints Commissioner and Information Commissioner’s Office. But the primary role of the new turbo-civil servant, which will be held for seven years by whoever gets the job, will be to deal with complaints against the police, as deputies will be appointed for freedom of information and maladministration in the public sector.

The merger of the commissioners into an ombudsman has not been without its controversy. While the creation of a more independent police complaint procedure has been broadly welcomed in the community and by police management, the decision to merge the complaints functions in government with the freedom of information commissioner has received considerable criticism because of the threat to the independence of the information commissioner and the obvious major differences between the work of those commissions.

The government has nevertheless forged ahead with the idea, which was first raised as a passing consideration in the EY general review of the civil service that led to Project Future and the start of reform in the public sector. The deputy governor’s office said the merger of the existing complaints function, the new police complaints office and FOI would be cheaper than creating a new office to deal purely with police complaints.

The emergence of an independent procedure for public complaints against the RCIPS will not, however, result in any independent punishment process. Even where the new ombudsman upholds a complaint made against officers, it will be up to the police management to deal with the officer concerned unless it is against the police commissioner, in which case the governor will deal with it.

The two pieces of legislation are expected to be debated in the Legislative Assembly when the elected politicians return to parliament for the last session in this administration in January. The 21-day consultation period is now underway and the public can submit their thoughts, comments, concerns or questions to the home affairs ministry.

The proposed laws indicate that the job of the supra-ombudsman will be to oversee the FOI and public sector complaints procedures and functions but the role appears to be heavily weighted toward dealing with police issues. The holder of the office will have the power of a senior police officer to investigate the complaints made by the public or to create a specially appointed body. He can also refer the complaint back to the RCIPS Professional Standards Unit to deal with and then supervise that process.

In addition to the two pieces of legislation establishing the new ombudsman’s office and powers, two pieces of legislation have also been gazetted to abolish the existing ICO and OCC.

See the draft legislation in the CNS Library

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (22)

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  1. Narcisso Clarke says:

    Yes 507pm but no one does it better than the PPM in they little Renta Cars give it a rest bro because the Butterball Turkey should be their parties symbol plus some of their minister are now looking quite similar these days!! Nothing like a hypocrite though??? accusing others of the very same thing you are doing?? you right about draining the swamp, but it is G/town and in Newlands and Bodden town too?

  2. Anonymous says:

    No more Caymankind.time now for Caymanunkind

  3. Anonymous says:

    On a different note: The West Bay politicians are hard at work delivering goods for votes, in the May 2017 Elections.

    They have already started delivering in Boatswain Bay which is now their “hot spot” due to the Hewitt fallout.

    Deliveries are as follows; 1 can of creme, 2 cans of Tuna Fish, 1 small bag of black beans and a small turkey.

    11 months of the year you can starve to death while they make $100,000CI but they won’t forget you when elections are near.

    Drain the swamp in West Bay for May 2017.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Paying a compliment is your prerogative anonymous at 6:54p.
    The facts are, however, that Ireland has the Police Ombudsman (https://www.policeombudsman.org/ ) and the UK has the Independent Police Complaints Commission (https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/ ), respectively, as the bodies that deal with complaints against their police. Neither body deals with maladministration or freedom of information complaints.
    Ireland has the Office of the Ombudsman (http://www.ombudsman.gov.ie/en/ ) and the Office of the Information Commissioner (http://www.oic.gov.ie/en/ ). Both bodies are headed by the same individual but they are completely separate from the Police Ombudsman.

    The UK has the Information Commissioner’s Office (https://ico.org.uk/ ) and an assortment of ombudsmen who deal with different areas such as the Local Government Ombudsman, the Pensions Ombudsman, the Financial Ombudsman, etc (https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-rights/civil-rights/complaints/how-to-use-an-ombudsman-in-england/). These bodies are completely separate from the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
    So, we would not be in the same league as Ireland and the UK. This is an important proposal that warrants serious consideration and not false analogies.

    • Anonymous says:

      4:05 Absolutely correct but it’s interesting to look at the history of the Police Ombudsman for Northern (important to make the geographical distinction here) Ireland and the IPCC.

      In NI the Ombudsman’s track record is pretty abysmal. During 2001/2 the follow up to the Omagh bombing was run by the same person who went on to head Operation Tempura over here (he was then their Deputy Director of Investigations). His report is still widely regarded as nothing more than a hatchet job on the RUC (now re-branded as PSNI) and a whitewash of failings by MI5 and MI6.

      For years IPCC investigations in the UK were controlled by former police officers (several of them from the Met’s now discredited CIB3 anti-corruption unit) who did little more than cover up for their former colleagues. It’s only been in the last year or so that these conflicts have been eliminated (the officers concerned have all been let go) and the IPCC has begun to do the job it was intended to do.

      If this is going to move on without problems people need to study what happened in the UK and make sure it can’t happen here.

  5. Cowboy $ign says:

    All the UK is doing is spinning this place round and round. What a mess an ombudsman now next is First Minister of the Expats. Only the PPM more legislation than Quakers have Oats to put Caymanians further into the minority of this little island.

  6. Ghost of Tempura says:

    Sounds to me like the powers that be are trying to put those very irritating FOI request to bed in one masterstroke and by appointing some glorified UK HR manager to come here to whitewash frivilous complaints against the very henchman they hire and brought here to police us. As for invesigating the COP well we see where an entire TEAM of Met officers got the last time they tried that crap. How is one Supa Ombudsman going to do this. PPM for the love of country stop wasting our money$$.

  7. Boogie Yaggas says:

    In league with Ireland and UK wow that is what is wrong with many of you johnny come latelys you forget you are here in Cayman. We sure do not need unnah rubbish here. We are already have enough now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman is setting the bar so high these days. We are leading in so many areas. Can you believe we have surplus budgets while other countries are struggling in debt.

      Serious crime is down while other countries are crawling with criminals.

      This new arrangement is cutting edge and will ensure a smaller government while enhancing the effectiveness of the ICO and OCC who really have little to do.

      This is paradise. No wonder no one wants to leave.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What about complaints against the OCC? Who should those be addressed to? What about complaints against this “Ombudsman” when that is fully operational? In it’s current arrangement, does the OCC have live/direct access to police reports?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think this is needed as we really have a few officers that are basically very rude an inconsiderate.. I know of one instance where a young ‘pregnant’ lady was given a parking ticket at the airport because she, in her state, took a few minutes more than allowed (parked at curb) at the Cayman Airways counter. This officer could have given her a warning, considering her “full term’ pregnancy and being Christmas time! Heartless an uncalled for i say! FYI: Caymanian young lady.. Ex-Pat officer…

    • Anonymous says:

      I am tired of expats walking around here like they own the place.
      Show some damned respect.
      Yes, you may be all high and mighty with your ‘superior’ education, but this is not your home.
      You are a guest.
      Behave as such or GTFH.
      Shame on the government for empowering this mentality.

      Signed, An expat, welcomed to this country by trusting Caymanians.
      I for one will not break that trust. I am honoured to live here.

      • Anonymous says:

        So your point is that the officer should have ignored the rules a) because he is an expat and should show respect or b) because the lady was a Caymanian and doesn’t have to follow the rules? If b), should he have enforced the law if she was a pregnant expat? How was he to know, should he have asked first?

        Signed – an expat who wants to avoid breaking the trust he has been shown by being allowed to be here, but is confused as to how the rules work.

        • Anonymous says:

          Rules are rules yes… but we are speaking of just plain ole common sense and consideration! It is totally up to the officer to issue a ticket or not as he/she sees fit regardless of where the person comes from! Its call discretion, and of course should be the same taken for a ex-pat or Caymanian alike! No favoritism or better treatment was suggested! Merry Christmas to you all!

      • Im just saying.. says:

        Expats, especially the wealthy ones, do actually own this place. In return, the country enjoys the best standard of living in the caribbean. I dont care to either condone or embrace this reality, i simply know it as fact. And btw im not one of the wealthy ones, so calm down.

        You sound bitter. Its not our fault we got educated and came here. Due to the tone of your email, I also have no grounds upon which to grant you the respect you clamour for. I have many non xenophobic Caymanian friends who could care less as to where i’m from. I mean, they or their daddy came from somewhere else too. So, get off your soapbox, get over yourself and while you are at it, have a merry xmas 🙂

  10. Organic Poniard says:

    First we need to invesigate by yet another Commission of Enquiry how exactly these deplorables i.e the Police got hire in the first place! That would mean invesigating the FCO yes Cayman do you now see just how ludicrous this whole situation is???? Yet another glorified post with obscene salaries and highlighted on the list of accomplishments on the PPM’s 2017 Manifesto. Please stop wasting our monies on foolishness and help people who are just trying to survive here in Cayman. When is the PPM going to stop listening to the UK and its foolishness.

  11. Anonymous says:

    More bullshit. Government needs to get smaller, not bigger.

    Answer this simple question. Who pays for the government? Answer. The private sector.
    Government in Cayman has become so frigging huge, it sucks the life out of the middle class.

    • One Voice says:

      You said a mouth FULL; all you can here ….. we need a commission for this or that. We need to set up a committee to over see the commissions . Where does it end? I guest when the Government is broke .

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for the support, friend. Unfortunately, the government will run out of cash just after we do.
        The entire concept of good governance is nothing more than a joke in the Cayman Islands and indeed around the world.
        Be blessed.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:02. It’s must be your bed time. How will merging 3 agencies into one make government bigger. This was done to save money. Wow whacky private sector workers again.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is so badly needed and puts Cayman in the same league as the UK Ireland and other leading countries who have all combined their commissioners.

    This move will make the ICO and the OCC stronger.

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