How the police interact with the public and their approach to tackling crime were among some of the issues discussed at last night’s (31 January) RCIPS community meeting in West Bay.
Residents and MLAs put their concerns and suggestions to the police hierarchy.
Police held their first community meeting of the year Wednesday night and about two dozen people attended. They spoke about crime, the level of policing in their community from officers at West Bay Police Station and how officers interact with the public.
West Bay residents reached out to senior police officials calling for a better relationship between the community and the RCIPS, a call shared by West Bay North MLA Bernie Bush. He said respect begets respect.
“Your work depends on getting information, but you’re not going to get it when a lot of people feel that the way that the police talk to us is not very nice,” said Mr. Bush.
Police officials acknowledged the concerns.
“Work with us, make the partnerships much stronger as we move forward protecting the Cayman Islands,” said Chief Inspector Courtney Myles.
On Wednesday the RCIPS hosted its first outreach meeting for 2018 at the John A. Cumber Primary School auditorium and residents voiced their concerns on a number of areas. Resident Katina Anglin pressed for more local officers on the force.
“When you want them to go into the community and you want them to act as they should bring the right response, I’m sorry sir, I really want this to work because at the end of the day, my future, my children’s future, the future of this country rests on this relationship right now,” said Ms. Anglin.
She recommended recruitment drives at MLA offices in the different constituencies to get residents from the areas to patrol their district.
Resident Sarah Orrett asked for the reassignment of two officers who were moved from the community.
“In George Town sometimes doing the police work and directing traffic very well, but with their personalities and how they know their children down here, I think it would be better served if they would continue serving down here,” said Mrs. Orrett.
She was assured that the officers would be reassigned to West Bay. Police also announced that their community officers initiative will be launched soon with officers in twelve different areas.
“And in each one of those areas, you will have an assigned officer, potentially two by April, now those officers are there to spend their time on foot patrol,” said Police Superintendent Robert Graham.
The police said that they will be going into more detail about their new community policing plan next week at a press conference, but they did say having officers on foot patrol will allow residents to have swifter action taken on their concerns, rather than waiting to express them at a community meeting.
A panel of representatives from different agencies from the Department of Agriculture to National Roads Authority also responded to community concerns. Residents shared concerns about speeding in the district and suggested installing speed bumps.