New CoP orders external review of child abuse cases

| 04/01/2017 | 27 Comments

(CNS): Following an RCIPS internal audit of all open child abuse cases in the Cayman Islands, triggered by a recent court case where the failure by the police to investigate a serious complaint of child sex abuse became apparent, an external review has been commissioned by the new police commissioner, Derek Byrne. Three officers from the UK with extensive expertise in child abuse investigations and child protection will be conducting a full review of all open investigations currently assigned to the RCIPS Family Support Unit (FSU). 

The RCIPS said in a release Wednesday that the officers arrived Tuesday and the review is expected to take about three months, during which time cases will be “assessed and completed in as timely a manner as possible”, and referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutiuons for charges where appropriate.

The British officers will focus on open investigations, and primarily child abuse investigations, but will also be reviewing RCIPS policies and procedures and advising on the implementation of international best practices in this area, police said.

This “outside assistance” has been engaged as a result of an audit of the Family Support Unit’s cases and procedures conducted by Detective Superintendent Pete Lansdown, conducted before the arrival of CoP Byrne in November 2016, which identified a number of cases requiring further investigation, as well as critical risks in the resourcing and rising workload of the FSU.

This audit was undertaken following the acquittal of two men accused of systematically abusing a young female relative, possibly from when she was as young as seven years old, because of the inexplicable incompetence of the police officers who had conduct of the case. (See RCIPS auditing child sex-crime cases)

As he delivered his verdict in September last year, Justice Timothy Owen said the “inexplicable and inexcusable delays”, the failure to interview relevant potential witnesses and the loss of important notes by the police undermined the case, which was first reported in 2012.

“Clearly, we need to make some fundamental changes in this area of our law enforcement work,” Commissioner Byrne is quoted as saying in the release.

The creation of a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), involving the FSU, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and HSA Counselling Services, which was announced last year, is set to begin later this month. The MASH unit is intended to bring together all relevant agencies to ensure proper management of cases and policy across government, in coordination with the Cayman Islands Child Safeguarding Board.

“The establishment of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) this month will provide us with a good basis for needed changes and improvements, as will the input of the officers who joined us yesterday,” said Byrne. “We must respond to the changing needs of the islands with proper support for child abuse investigations going forward, which are among the most sensitive and difficult for any police service.”

The RCIPS said the three British police officers have extensive experience in working in MASH units in the UK and “will be able to lend their expertise in cross-agency collaboration and safeguarding procedures as a MASH Unit is established in the Cayman Islands”.

“Having these structures in place will enable faster progress toward a strong child protection regime through timelier interventions, and overall, greater prevention of child abuse and the lifelong damage caused by it,” Byrne noted. “This is our ultimate goal.”

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Category: Crime, Crime Prevention

Comments (27)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    On an Island with so many churches and pious utterings, this is actually a sad indictment of society. Welcome to Cayman officers, you are going to be busy in what must be traumatic work. Hopefully the media will respect this and not publish photos of them relaxing on their days off getting their heads back together.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I pray that they impliment a law that protects the victim prior to the case. Victim and abuser communincation during the process of taking them to court is horrible...

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      • Anonymous says:

        Imagine when they live together! Imagine if the abuser is the parent/guardian!!

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  2. Dr Quik says:

    Fortunate for you 6:10pm there are no locals in the the FSU all imported just like you and given our rights nice try though!

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  3. Ghost of Tempura says:

    Who brought these criminal and morally bankrupt police officers here? Which Commissioner of Police got up in the media talking about reflecting the diversity of the community BS? Now they come here like saviors to fix the problem that they should have never imported here in the first place! Typical UK and yes Sick and Tired a number of these very sick individuals were pointed out to Tempura investigators so they could hopefully try and sort them out but alas too well connected to lodge members and the UK's own police advisor. Simply above the law and reproach mate!

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    • Anonymous says:

      To 8:02am, what the hell are you talking about?? You should be ever so grateful someone is trying to fix the children being sexually abused here for the locals, politicans and churches certainly haven't been doing s...t about it which has been going on for so long. Thank goodness for the new commissioner!!! Sorry look what happened when we put a caymanian commissioner in office once before, he quit no notice!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are in denial 8.02 and need help quick.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    this has to do with standards of living.....................................

    I pleased that the police are addressing the serious that is more prevalent in our society than any of us would like to admit.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    A lot of the responsibility of the problem does lie with the parents in these situations. Parents get mad at their kids for exposing these types of situations just as you have eluded to. However, there needs to be amendments in the law to include provisions for 3rd party reporting of such incidents. It is a very thin line and caution must be had when taking third party reports as anyone could say anything. But, if there is clear objective evidence then what is the issue?

    This review should just not end here. One must look at the big picture... how many of these cases were properly investigated by the police but once the case made its way to the DPP their office decided not to prosecute? Insert any obscure legal reason here...

    It is reasonable to wonder if the corruption/incompetence/negligence is top-down rather than bottom-up. It is of my humble opinion that it is actually systemic throughout the entire law enforcement system.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    maybe keep the outside experts for good.....the less locals in the force, the better

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are out order, and you should immediately leave our islands with your attitude.

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      • Anonymous says:

        the response to anyone pointing out a Caymanian problem is always the same. Leave the island.

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        • Anonymous says:

          You ignore the fact that the agencies involved are dominated by expats. You assume them to be Caymanian because you do not understand what a Caymanian is.

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          • Anonymous says:

            i know many expats in the force.....they all say the same, the big problem is the work ethic and qualifications of caymanians/west indians in the force....
            truth hurts sometimes

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            • Anonymous says:

              There you go again. Using Caymanians/West Indians interchangeably and seemingly refusing to acknowledge that Jamaicans/Bajans/Trini's are just as much an expat as any Brit or Canadian.

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          • Anonymous says:

            11.26 you ignore the facts that this is a domestic problem...and no one local has done anything about it for years. You seem to think you are God's gift to this planet and can do no wrong, and that dear fellow, is exactly where the problems start.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The biggest problem about policing in Cayman, and all issues in Cayman, is that everything always becomes about locals vs. expats, "status-holders", Jamaicans, you-name-it. This obscures the real problem. The issue here, if you read between the lines, or even just read, is more about proper management and resources.("critical risks in the resourcing and rising workload...") Many, or most, public services here are just not properly resourced. Just talk to a teacher if you don't believe me. I know detectives in the police service and they are viciously overworked. Maybe the detective who handled this case screwed up and should be fired. Fine. But the problem is bigger than that, and is not about locals or outsiders. It is about the islands and government waking up. You get what you pay for. The police budget is not as big as people think. If you want more and better, it comes with a price tag, as does everything. The new CoP seems to know what he is doing... so far.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Still waiting for the Auntie to deliver an answer on Statutory rape law in the Cayman Islands. Why does it take so long?

    CNS: Clarifying statute of limitations

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    • Anonymous says:

      thank you. Should not be any on this type of crimes.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    *applause*

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  9. Sick & Tired says:

    The sad truth is that this disturbing behavior of child molestation is PREVALENT in the Caribbean. Reggae singers disgustingly talk about "likkle young ting whine pon di someting". Children are bombarded with sex and sexuality on a constant basis by their parents/care givers with explicit content, daily dialogue, lewd and deplorable public "dancing"... the list of the parental and societal atrocities that kids are exposed to is horrific and shameful.

    Even some of the cops have this mentality. Back in the day, I knew girls as young as 15 who were being hit on by guys in the RCIPS. This "grooming" mentality of find-them-young-and-train-them is a revolting reality in everyday Cayman life. Young boys are pressured in to feeling they need to have sex to prove they are men. Young babies preyed upon by deviant, scum bag family members who feel they can do as they please because a child can't fight back or have a voice.

    This is a cultural septic tank of bullshit and worthlessness. And all people do is 1) look away, 2) pray or 3) don't get involved. Neither of the three work.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I was going to comment but after reading this post I really don't need to . Can not possibly put it better . The fact that two people could dislike this really staggers me .

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    • Anonymous says:

      Couldn't agree more and the "rising workload of the FSU" as stated in the article attests to what you say. Question is, will parents finally act like parents on this island or leave everything to teachers and police?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Parents can only give their children what their culture, parents and life experience has given them. Only education, which takes humility, time, and effort can give the parents what their children need and stop the cycle of child abuse.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Madam Governor the police are failing the people in your watch. The silence is deafening.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Fire the incompetent RCIPS officers who have failed the child and all victims of abuse. We should not have to pay for clowns and poor service. Imagine if this happened to your child what would your reaction be?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Apparently the reaction of the mother in this case, if you go back and read the coverage, was to slap her abused daughter around for daring to inform a school counselor about what happened. Better not to assume anything about those involved... parents, officers, or anyone else. Better to know what you are talking about.

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