Cop chopper to get night vision

| 08/07/2017 | 20 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has been given an undisclosed windfall from the UK’s Conflict Stability and Security Fund towards “state-of-the-art night vision equipment” for the police helicopter that will allow the crew to see in the dark, officials said Friday. The upgrade will involve modifications to the chopper and the provision of night vision goggles for the helicopter crew.

“This is an important step in enhancing our ability to operate safely and effectively at night in challenging weather conditions,” said Police Commissioner Derek Byrne. “The upgrade provides us with the latest technology, which significantly boosts our ability to manage search-and-rescue and crime operations after dark.”

Matthew Forbes, the head of the governor’s office, said the Bitish government was working closely with Cayman Islands officials to improve border security and search-and-rescue capability.

“This project is an important first step in this process. Saving lives at sea and stemming the flow of firearms, drugs and illegal immigrants entering Cayman is a priority for government,” he added.

Once the equipment is fitted, a training programme and crew certification programme will also be carried out to enhance the police pilots’ existing experience and skills using similar technology.

The project announcement coincides with the arrival of the British naval vessel, RFA Mounts Bay, which is conducting disaster and security related exercises in Cayman this weekend. The ship has a Wildcat helicopter on board that is equipped with night vision capability for use in any night-time search-and-rescue or enforcement operations during its deployment to the Caribbean.

Since the government purchased the RCIPS helicopter in 2008, it has been the source of some controversy as it has had to be retrofitted on a number of occasions because of its limited capabilities and public purse constraints. The government has also claimed that it was misinformed about the operational capabilities of the 1999 Euro Chopper when it was recommended to them by the police commissioner at the time, Stuart Kernohan.

Later that same year, it was the subject of a report by the Office of the Auditor General, which found that no comprehensive and detailed analysis of what the RCIPS wanted from the helicopter was ever completed.

In 2012 McKeeva Bush, who was premier at the time, raised the possibility of selling the machine to save government the annual running costs, which is now around $2 million, when he was struggling to get UK approval for his budgets.

However, over time, the helicopter has been modified to help with medical emergencies as well as search-and-rescue on land and sea, and it is has proved its worth in assisting with the fight against crime, especially when it comes to fleeing suspects and drug interdiction at sea.

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Category: Crime, Crime Prevention, Police

Comments (20)

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  1. Harden says:

    All the better for catching those sugar glider smugglers with. Now if only we had a Caymanian pilot…

  2. Anonymous says:

    I knew Commissioner Kernohan quite well and one of the problems he had with the whole RCIPS Air Support Unit programme was that certain MLAs with supporters who may (or in fairness may not) have an interest in activities that normally take place during the hours of darkness were vehemently oppposed to the project. As a result the proverbial goalposts for the operation were continually being changed and challenged. False rumours were also circulated about the airworthiness of the Eurocopter EC135 and the reasons it had been sold by Thames Valley Police. The fact is that, as supplied, it was a bargain and perfectly suited to RCIPS requirements but by the time the polticians were finished with it you would have been excused for believing that it was about as useful as a Model T Ford.

    This project has been a political football for the past decade but the only real facts that have emerged from this are that certain ‘businessmen’ are being impacted by its presence overhead. Let’s hope the new toys will make their lives even more difficult.

  3. Anonymous says:

    put some unemployed “seafaring Caymanians” on floating barges with flashlights and binoculars would help boarder patrol.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thought they had this already

    • Anonymous says:

      For the 2 Million that we paid and the 2 -3 year wait, the helo should have had not only night vision but a rescue hoist and a 50 caliber machine gun attached.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Think you will find the running costs are no where near 2 million. Check the last budget allocation. In any case, what cost one life? Never mind the several.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again the UK out to get us again by providing much needed equipment.

    I was so sadden by all the conspiracy theories around the landing of the equipment on 7 mile beach on Friday.

    We now know that the equipment needed after a hurricane can be landed.

    When will the people understand that the FCO is not out to get us.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the Brits would like to fund other law enforcement departments such as the port authority and the DOE as they too serve an important part of our internal and border protection by actually being out on the water and dealing with the same idiots who run drugs and weapons. Over the years they have certainly assisted in search and rescue, often being first on scene.

    Some new boats and equipment that isn’t well past it’s useful date might help.

    • Anonymous says:

      The UK’s attitude is don’t come to us for material aid that you could afford yourselves if only you taxed your residents.

      Which is fair enough really. We can’t have it both ways.

  8. jimmy says:

    the helicopter is a great asset to island security and fighting the scum that unfortunately crawls around here at night

  9. Sharkey says:

    I not going to say that the helicopter are not beneficial to the Islands in many ways . But now getting the night vision equipment for the chopper , this is all the Government are going to use in border surveillance and this operation is going to get very expensive very fast and be aborted very quickly .
    I think that the crew of the chopper is going to have too much fun with the night vision equipment , because in Cayman islands there’s no accountability .

    I think that what is needed is to have a few power loaded ships positioned in certain areas around the Islands manned 24/7 with a chopper that would chase the criminals into the Police /Immigration hands on land .

  10. Anonymous says:

    Finally some help from the mother country. Thank you

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s not fool ourselves but 90% of the new equipment was paid for by the tax payers of the Cayman Islands and not by the U.K.

      The new red fire rescue vessel was paid for by the Cayman Islands Govt and not the UK – but they did transport it here, same as the Governors new vehicle.

      If the night vision are those attached to the pilots helmets, they cost about $5 – 7 thousand each and was probably donated due to the down sizing of British Forces in Afghanistan and the Middle East etc…

      Let’s be real, Cayman is viewed by the U.K. as being “Too Rich A Territory” to get a donation of any sort. You are truly out of touch to think otherwise.

      Yes they will come if we have a Hurricane or Earth Quake and that is appreciated. Yes they will bring some water, tarpolin and some tetanus shots but they will be out of here in less than a week. Remember Hurricane Ivan 2004 ?

      Do you know who was flying in the Arrow Cargo Planes for about a month straight after Hurricane Ivan bringing
      everything from water, medical supplies, ice, batteries, food, generators etc…..

      In case you don’t know or forgot, it was Mr. Kenneth Dart and Mrs Olde from East End.

      When the going gets tough and the tough get’s going, it’s people like them who really got our asses covered in the Cayman Islands, less we not forget.

      • Jotnar says:

        “Cayman is viewed by the U.K. as being “Too Rich A Territory” to get a donation of any sort. ”

        Given our GDP per capita is actually higher than the UKs, and we pay no tax or financial contribution to the UK, they may just have a point.

        • Anonymous says:

          The FCO can spin a story of assisting and helping her British Overseas Territories better than a spider can spin a web overnight.

  11. JAY says:

    Now we know why it has not been very effective in some cases…

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