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MASH unit set to launch; police preview Child Protection Unit

The RCIPS records a 15 percent increase in overall crime in 2016 as compared to the year before.

Firearm offences and domestic assaults both nearly doubled. But other categories, notably murders and burglaries, saw significant decreases.

Outside those numbers, police also announced its multi-agency child protection hub, known as “Mash” will soon be ready to launch.

“We’re very pleased that this is a very progressive step forward in terms of looking at how we deal with child protection,” Police Commissioner David Byrne said.

He said the multi-agency safeguarding hub, or MASH, will help coordinate child protection efforts in Cayman. “It’s joint decision-making so that it’s quick-time real-time exchange of information with the focus on the child protection issues,” Mr Byrne said.

As of this week, representatives from police, the family support unit, the Department of Child and Family Services, and the Health Services Authority are moving into accommodations at Anderson Square to begin work as the MASH Unit.

“Previously a complaint would be made to either the child protection services or to the RCIPS, and eventually we get around to having a joint conference. Now it comes into a central referrals unit and we are all on site in one suite dealing with the complaint, making the best decision in the quickest possible time, that’s the concept of the MASH,” Commissioner Byrne said.

Commissioner Byrne, in his 16th week on the job, stressed child protection is a police priority.

“Child protection is at the top of the agenda for RCIPS,” he said.

In January, three child protection experts from the UK were contracted to review the Family Support Unit and expedite any outstanding cases.

“We are delivering training to have a fit for purpose section to deal with child protection,” he added.

Commissioner Byrne said the MASH concept has worked well in other jurisdictions to ensure children who need protection receive it.

“I think we’re making the right steps going in the right direction,” Mr Byrne said.

The public will get the chance to learn more about the mash unit and how it works. An official press launch is scheduled for 6 March.
The 3 UK child protection experts will conclude their work in another couple months at which point their findings will be made public.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 16 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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