Heavy investment planned for law enforcement

| 17/04/2019 | 56 Comments
Cayman News Service

Premier Alden McLaughlin in the LA, 12 April 2019

(CNS): With over $9 million added to law enforcement budgets for 2019 and a long list of future plans for the various agencies, such as the police and border control, government has committed to investing heavily in fighting crime over the next few years. Money has already been appropriated for this year to buy land for a new police headquarters in George Town and government plans a new, much-needed police station in West Bay, as well as introducing community support officers and investing in more equipment in the next budget cycle. The premier has also revealed an anti-gang strategy to tackle enduring crime issues across the islands.

In his Strategic Policy Statement address to the parliament last week, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that a “central plank” of his government has been responding to concerns about crime.

He said the current police commissioner had achieved a real change in approach in response to concerns in communities that the police had lost touch with them. Community policing had already improved visibility and response times, the premier stated, helping to target prolific and persistent offenders.

As he outlined more investment for the RCIPS in “fit-for-purpose accommodation” and more reliable, modern equipment, the premier said plans were also underway to introduce community support officers who will work within their neighbourhoods, helping the community police officers gather intelligence and develop relationships.

In addition to these initiatives, McLaughlin announced the implementation — finally, as many governments have shied away from accepting the prevalence of local gangs —  of a new anti-gang strategy.

“Work to develop the strategy has been underway for some time across government and the police, led by the deputy governor,” he stated. “The delivery of this strategy will be an important part in making our communities safer by disrupting and reducing gang activities. It will also improve the life-chances of young people who otherwise might fall into criminality through their involvement in gangs.”

McLaughlin also said that because gang activity is often linked to drugs and guns, the government was focused on reducing the risks associated with those problems, which meant improving border security. 

“The creation of the new customs and border control service represents the significant action this government has taken in that regard,” the premier claimed. He said it was not a bureaucratic rearrangement of responsibilities or about new logos and uniforms but a shift to a more integrated and intelligence-led approach.

“That approach began to be introduced over the last year as the former customs and immigration departments began working more closely together in advance of the formal creation of the new service on 1st February this year,” McLaughlin said. “Already the results are significant and the contribution that the CBC is making to keeping our borders more secure and our communities safer is clear.”

In 2018, a total of 63 people were arrested for various drugs and weapons offences, including importation, possession with intent to supply and conspiracy to import controlled substances. As the new integrated service was developed, customs officers also conducted 46 joint operations with immigration and the police, the premier told the Legislative Assembly.

“The proactive patrols and joint operations, which mostly targeted individuals involved with drugs and weapons activities, resulted in several hundred pounds of drugs and multiple firearms being seized by officers,” McLaughlin said, noting that over CI$250,000 in cash from illegal activities was confiscated.

The premier also revealed that a project for a new prison is now in the early planning stages, which will be included in the next budget. Although the existing facility has been enhanced and patched up, the prison remains unfit for purpose and has been condemned by prison inspectors. 

Regardless of plans to continue the heavy investment fighting crime, the premier said it was better to keep people out of the criminal justice system all together. Alongside the anti-gang strategy to prevent young people in particular from falling into criminality, government will make it easier for offenders to leave their criminal lifestyles and stay out of it by improving support and rehabilitation for offenders, including access to work. 

“Preparing for that starts while still in prison,” the premier said, as he outlined some initiatives that have already paid off. This included one prisoner on temporary placement as a trainee chef at a prestigious Seven Mile Beach hotel who was named the ‘Employee of the Month’ at the resort. 

The Department of Environmental Health is now employing ex-inmates on the garbage collection service and a new pilot programme is employing five former offenders across the civil service this year.

As well as investing in security and law enforcement, government is investing some of the growing public revenue in the creation of the Cayman Islands Coast Guard. The aim is to modernise the approach to maritime safety and security and enable conformity with a series of international obligations.

“The coast guard will deliver further reductions in crime by giving our islands a significantly enhanced maritime capacity and capability, ensuring safe use of our waters for recreational and commercial vessels, and improve the competence and professionalism of our response capability for maritime search and rescue,” McLaughlin stated in his speech.

The new Airbus H145 helicopter, a project in partnership with the UK government, will be used by the new agency as well as police and border control. However, the next step for the coast guard was the opening in the coming weeks of a new operations and rescue coordination centre, the premier added.

 See the SPS statement in the CNS Library 

Watch the premier deliver the more than two hour address on CIGTV:

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Category: Border Control, Coast Guard, Crime, Crime Prevention, Government Finance, Police, Politics

Comments (56)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m voting for LESS Babylon next election.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How about heavy investment for removing The Dump and figuring out how to have regular trash pick up on Grand Cayman?

  2. Gingerbread Man says:

    Still can’t catch me!

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  3. Cess Pita says:

    “A new rescue co-ordination centre for the Coast Guard” – that will come in useful for their own patrol boats.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Morning Alden. Can you let me know why we have no doctor at the eye clinic?.

    Thanks,
    Wanda

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  5. Voter says:

    Well done Alden. All those expat gay supporters bashing the MLAs can’t complain about living in a crime infested place. They portray Cayman as such a horrible place, and want to change our laws to suit them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You do know there are gay officers in the RCIPS? Just to clarify, there are gay officers in the RCIPS who save the likes of yourself from having to deal with some real dregs of society.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is one more positive step by our great premier and the rest of the unity team. Bless you all. 12 more years

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  6. Anonymous says:

    A $9mln boost to our $50mln, means a total budget of almost $60mln, or around $150,000 per officer, for which we get no breakdown on expenses or costs.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    there can be no better investment than in sufficient and fit for purpose CCTV all throughout the Islands!

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    • Anonymous says:

      1:15pm. Better than the useless ones that costs millions of dollars. Filling someone’s pocket.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There are already CCTV cameras and systems in place at key road junctions, but they are either not working, or else Policeman Plod doesn’t intend seeking that evidence.

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    • Anonymous says:

      RCIPS have a brains problem, not tech problem. My car was hit in a hit and run, police took descriptions of both vehicles, went away to look at CCTV footage…two weeks later they told me they hadn’t found any cars of my description speeding off…because they had spent all that time looking for the victim’s car not the perpetrator’s car. It is actually that bad.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    There are other agencies that could use some funding. I agree that crime must be dealt with but how about our other emergency services. New ambulances are needed a long with updated equipment. Please help. The citizens and visitors to this country deserve it.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    What about trade schools and and adult training centers ? Why is that so hard to do? Every country that I have visited has that in place. Yet our goverment never has the interest to do the same.

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  10. Mike says:

    I am always amazed at how easy people find it to bash law-enforcement and others That are working to keep us safe. Yes we have a high ratio of police officers to residents but let us not forget that we also have the lowest crime of any democratic jurisdiction In this hemisphere and I would venture to say the world. Miami Beach has 10 violent crimes and 82 non-violent crimes per 1000 residents we don’t have those levels of crime.

    This comes at a cost folks. Pick your battles!!!! Yes there are many things that they could do better and possibly more efficiently but all things being equal to organize events such as Royal visits, Kaboo festival etc, that are organized peaceful and without incident don’t just happen because it happens. Let’s try to demonstrate some gratitude that we live in a place that provides us A blanket of safety That should never be taken for granted.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    We either need to dramatically expand our prison infrastructure, or out-source our highest-risk violent offenders and long term storage problems to another territory or country, equipped and trained to house this grade of criminal. Everyone serving more than 5 years should be sent abroad instead of training up the petty-criminal first time offenders into full-fledged gangsters like some kind of Northward University of Crime. The capacity limitations of our tiny Prison system cannot be ignored any more. Let’s make some space for minimum security, low-violent risks, with skills training for those with some hope of reintegration back into productive society. Part of the criminal disincentive should be the prospect of exile.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Expand the prison. Make prison time a proper deterrent. Take away TV, phone, Ritz Carlton meals, Air-Con, and conjugal visits. Institute more hard labour and use chain gangs to fix roads, cut back vegetation. Or are we too soft to do what’s necessary ?

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      • Anonymous says:

        We should stop pretending we know what we’re doing and send the really bad people elsewhere and only house locally the minimum threats and short term visitors we can handle. It would still be a full prison though.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    And not a peep about changing our antiquated war on drug laws/policies

    Meanwhile Canada has legalized, Mexico has or is in the process of decriminalizing and half the states have decriminalized at least partially
    These MLAs are asleep at the wheel and terrified of authoritarians on the far right

    We will always be the islands that time forgot. Not by accident but purposefully

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  13. Tru Tru says:

    There are no gangs in the Cayman Islands

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Would be better spent on crime prevention. Or a gallows.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    60,000 people live in the Cayman Islands. 2.1 million tourists visited Cayman in 2017
    Per RCIP site: “the RCIPS now has 395 police officers” or 65.8 officers for every 10,000 residents

    The USA data:
    *In 2016, police departments serving cities with populations exceeding 25,000 employed an average of 16.8 officers and 21.4 total personnel for every 10,000 residents
    * Miami Beach, Florida 42.3 officers for every 10,000 residents
    15.5 million people visited Miami Beach in 2015

    https://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/police-officers-per-capita-rates-employment-for-city-departments.html

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    • Bertie : B says:

      So tell me my friend , are .8 . .4 and .3 cops Like really short ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for stating this, we have excess police already. What they won’t admit is the force is top heavy, hence low presence in the streets. How about funding the traffic department? I mean c’mon how hard can it be to enforce the laws we have in place already.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Unlike the other countries listed in the stats, our police are not allowed the tools of the trade. It’s a sad fact, but Grand Cayman will continue to have armed robberies and armed home invasions until there is an armed response. Criminals are cowards. They rejoice when constraints are put upon law-abiding citizens, because they don’t have any obligation to honour those constraints.

        When/If we can protect ourselves, when/if they police can protect themselves against an armed criminal, then things will improve.

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    • Rick says:

      The USA has local, County, State and Federal police agencies. Did you stats include all those. They also have military and National Guard, Coast Guard and local water police; did you include those also? Then we can begin to discuss air assets, which are separate. In addition to all those law enforcement agencies, there are multiple non-police law enforcement agencies (IRS, etc.) that impact crime fighting.

      In the Cayman Islands it is only the RCIPS. All the other law enforcement agencies rely on the RCIPS to get things done. Stats are simply facts. The analysis can be very misleading.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully the RCIPS can improve on their very low batting average, in the few games they play. Groucho Marx said that “showing up is 80% of success”, and it’s true. They need to read all of the laws of their occupation, get out there, and open their eyes with consistency. Efforts should be made to reduce response time in the SMB corridor to 5 mins or less. If they need to add 20 more cars and people, you’ve now got the money to do it.

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  17. Inside Job says:

    Any word on who robbed the police evidence locker?

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    • Anonymous says:

      The police.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Need more severe punishment for criminals, criminals have it too easy
      in prison, that’s why they don’t mind going back to prison. Bring back hard labour. The law abiding citizens in a sense are punished more than criminals for the criminals gets everything free, food, health care and everything, and the law abiding people has to pay for everything for themselves and for the criminals.Do like Singapore and everything will be better.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    How about DOE enforcement officers or are we just going to wait until there’s nothing left to protect?

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  19. Anonymous says:

    more money down the drain….and we will have nothing to show for it….
    just get the current overstaffed, underworked police farce to their jobs and start enforcing the laws.

    ppm will spend us into recession…just like they did before.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Any chance of even a half hearted attempt to enforce the laws relating to fronting?

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Blah, Blah, Blah, nothing changes on the ground. I had the experience yesterday of having one of the illegal motrorbikes doing a wheelie right next to the back window of my car as my kids looked on in shock. This was on the bypass right in front of the Kimpton. The biker had slowed down to impede traffic and then put on a show. I am sure the top tier CCTV and the eagle eye traffic cops saw nothing. These bikers have no fear of being caught or having their bikes seized.

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    • Anonymous says:

      well what do you expect when the comissioner said he ‘law enforcement is not the answer’……..zzzzzzzzzzz

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    • Anonymous says:

      So far it seems like the only thing the new customs and border control service is doing is continuing to keep the gates open for foreigners to work in the Cayman Islands….

      the only thing they control is tickets for seats in the building and how quick they can let the crowds outside in to be served.

      Every day that department is open they have crowds of people in and out of the customer area. They must be the busiest department in government followed by the licensing department that allows the newbies to drive.

      If Caymanians had a department dedicated to serving our unemployed or underemployed Caymanians oh what a Cayman it would be for Caymanians…

      Oh what a thing to dream in your own country…oh sorry…I mean in a British Overseas Territory…

      Sincerely,
      A concerned Caymanian

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      • Cess Pira says:

        2.55pm What are you talking about “if only we had a department dedicated to serving our unemployed” – you already have one, giving cash handouts, free medical treatment, accommodation and whatever else they beg for.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Doesn’t surprise me that you think all Caymanians deserve are handouts and that only expats can work for money here.

          The biggest mistake Caymanians ever made was to allow so many expats to establish themselves here and organize to work against Caymanians.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately, dealing with these idiots is easier said than done.

      Yes, they’re irritating, brainless tools, and yes they’re doing their foolishness in front of everybody…but, have you tried to stop someone on one of these things? Cars cannot follow, police bikes are not a match either as they’re primarily for the road. They cannot be knocked off the bikes, as if they get killed the government would be sued.

      Sure, sometimes it would be great to see them go face first into the asphalt and learn a lesson, but the only viable options, other than winning Darwin Awards, are community intelligence and use of helicopter to track them, with support from traffic and K9 units. That ain’t cheap. So, the rcips are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

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