Police policy irrational, UK court finds

| 27/07/2021 | 20 Comments
Cayman News Service
RCIPS officers on parade (file photo)

(CNS): A group of officers who took a legal case against the RCIPS’ mandatory retirement and re-engagement policy all the way to the UK Privy council won a re-hearing in the Grand Court on the argument that the employment of retired officers as constables regardless of their rank and circumstances before retirement is irrational. While the substantial argument in the case, brought by the retired and rehired officers, that the mandatory retirement age and rehiring policy was discriminatory and breached the Bill of Rights was lost, the lesser issue won favour with the Privy Council, which also said the officers would be able to call new evidence at a new trial.

The case was heard in London in May and the justices delivered the ruling on Monday, sending the case back to the Cayman Islands Grand Court after allowing the appeal on two out of the three issues originally argued.

The main submission in the case was that the mandatory retirement age, which was moved from 55 years to 60 years in November 2010, was discriminatory. It meant that officers employed before a given date were required to retire at 55, creating a difference among those serving depending on each officer’s start date.

But the original Grand Court judge and the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal all rejected the arguments, as did the Privy Council, which found that mandatory retirement age policies do not fall within the ambit of age discrimination. But while the appeal court had noted the irrationality of the blanket policy to rehire all former officers under the rank of chief inspector as constables, it was not enough of an issue for the court here to allow the appeal, as it found that it was linked to the retirement policy.

The Privy Council, however, took a different position to the local appeal court, finding that just because it was inextricably linked to the mandatory retirement age and designed to soften the blow of officers having to leave their job did not mean it was not irrational in terms of the constitutional requirement for all decisions by government to be reasonable, fair and rational.

Instead, the London court said the “ameliorative purpose of the policy cannot change its irrationality”. The Constitutional requires that rationality applies, regardless of a link to any beneficial purpose. Therefore, simply put, the link did not stop the policy from being irrational.

“A policy that is designed with the best of intentions can nevertheless be irrational when it is a blanket policy applied irrespective of the circumstances of the individual or the needs of the police service,” the UK court found.

This argument had been largely overshadowed by the main thrust of the submissions by the officers on the discrimination point, but the court said that the appeal was allowed for all of the defendants remaining in the case and that they would all be allowed to call new evidence at the new trial on this point.

The court also found on the third issue in question that two officers who had declined to return to the RCIPS at a lower rank could also take part in the new trial because the finding applied to them, too.

The case details how officers with a long history with the RCIPS, even those who had reached the rank of inspector, were re-employed at best as senior constables, meaning that their experience and skills were not taken into consideration.

One of the plaintiffs had enlisted in October 1991 and reached the rank of inspector prior to mandatory retirement in July 2013, but a month before he was forced to retire he was told by Human Resources that if he wanted to keep working with the RCIPS he would have to retire and then sign a new contract enlisting as a constable. He believed the commissioner did not have the right to reduce his rank or salary and he raised his concerns with management, but with the policy confirmed, he had no choice and signed a contract to re-enlist at the reduced rank of senior constable.

The case of one of the two officers who chose not return as a constable highlighted the irrationality of the policy. A female officer who had served since January 1987 had gained 23 years specialist experience in the Financial Crime Unit, where she was a detective sergeant and the most experienced fraud investigator in the FCU when she was due to retire.

Although she had wanted to remain, she was refused the opportunity to retain her rank and so left the police, taking that invaluable experience with her at a time when the RCIPS is dealing with increased pressure regarding financial crime and is understood to still be suffering skill shortages in this area.

No date has yet been set for the new trial.

See the full judgement in the CNS Library.

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Category: Police

Comments (20)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The second from last paragraph had me in absolute stitches.
    Haven’t laughed so much for a long time

  2. Cayman Marginalization continues says:

    The unfortunate situation those Architects of this terrible situation are both still in place and some have actually moved to CBC causing the the same havoc there! We are now seeing the end result of this displacement program ,where we have individuals from elsewhere benefitting from our constitution and have contributed absolutely nothing to it our the island, Infact they have now become so entrenched and influential in the judiciary and law enforcement they are now able to determine the outcomes for their own benefit and that of their own country men. I tell you what if some fool went to their land of many one people and suggested they have to hire police to reflect the diversity of their community They would one be there to too long or Infact probably be alive either. What has happen to these little islands is both a national disgrace and very disrespectful to our fore fathers who died and suffer to keep us from this type of tyranny and marginalisation of both us and our children and their future. Let’s hope this PACT government can restore some rights back at least making it fair.

  3. Cudjoe's Cayman says:

    Let me quote the Greatest Cowhead ever Baines “The police service must reflect the diversity of the community” how truly sad for these little islands? Who chose in 1962 to remain a colony.Let not let the truth get in our way in 1509 the Spanish took Jamaica from the Arawak People and 1655 British took from the Spanish and brought in slaves after both European occupiers destroyed the indigenous people who’s remnants mixed with slaves who rose up against them in 1724-1795 they chose to threatened and use trickery to deported Trelawny maroons of Cudjoes’s Town to Nova Scotia Canada and then to Sierra Leone back to Africa. We have no place to go Cayman and Cayman Brac cant hold us either.

  4. Anonymous says:

    PACT has managed to acribe a new meaning to people driven.

  5. Facts says:

    Just like the two highly trained, successful and experienced officer who were illeagaly kicked out of the Coast Guard because they knew more than the idiots running it.

    The COP is led by his nose and feels like he can do whatever the hell he wants. XXXX

    The worst part is the Elected Officials are useless because they can do nothing about him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Highly trained but mostly useless. You may think the two running the Coast Guard now are idiots, but I’m pretty sure they are not illiterate and can spell illegally properly.

      • Facts says:

        Anonymous says:

        27/07/2021 at 7:57 pm

        You actually sound like one of the idiots. Hit a nerve did I. All comes down to bad breeding for you and them doesn’t it. Haha

        But as usual time will tell, just like before, the idiots will stay just long enough to screw it all up then jump ship and move on to screw up somewhere else. Their employment histories prove that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Comical if you thought any of the previous marine police was highly trained with the amount gear casings and props they destroyed.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Same s… judt another day

  7. Elvis says:

    Ive seen some of these old duffers on the beat in 1990s. They lukkeh

  8. Anonymous says:

    Who this going benefit? I dont know on caymanian in the force lol. Make it make sense jesus.

    • Anonymous says:

      You should ask why the government allows some departments and institutions to be dominated, if not overrun, by a single or incredibly limited group of foreign nationalities? Don’t allow them to give you any “reflective of the community” crap. The community has fast become reflective of government hiring policy.

      • anon says:

        How Jamaican officers have effectively Mafised tge service us nothing short of a disgrace. There needs to be an inquiry to uncover why there are so many of them with some fundamentally incompetent.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’d consider getting cops who focus on enforcing laws and not complaining so much about doing said job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just kick out the violent scum back to Jamaica and all will be good here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fun fact: Our laws requires diversity in workplaces so that no one foreign culture or nationality can dominate. Enforce our laws! They apply to everyone!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Too much of what the government does is unconstitutional, whether because it is irrational, disproportionate or unfair – if not actually unlawful. Very few can get to the Privy Council to seek and obtain justice. The overt breaches of the constitution are well recorded, and longstanding, as is the failure to change or hold anyone accountable. It is a National disgrace.

    • Wun Hu Noes says:

      The first sentence speaks volumes! The Cayman Islands wallow in corruption. and has done so for years……… and nothing has been done about it! Once they get hooked up with the “directors” of the system it becomes, “Get all you can!” Will our new PACT follow in the same manner? We will soon find out.

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