In the beginning
In 1907, a law was passed authorising the establishment of a police force. Prior to that, district constables on a salary of two shillings per day performed police duties.
The force was initially commanded by an English Inspector and four local constables who also acted in the capacity of postal and customs officials. Responsibilities, aside from investigating crime, included looking after short-term prisoners in a ‘lock-up’ as there was no prison. Other responsibilities included hoisting the Cayman Islands flag on government buildings whilst the reveille was blown on the bugle. The practice of hoisting the flag has only ceased to be the responsibility of the police in recent years.
Between 1912 and 1918 very little crime was committed and offences were often of a trivial nature.
The early days
In 1928, the establishment was increased by a further two constables. Constables were given basic training such as foot drill and officers worked seven days a week, 365 days a year from 6:00am to 10:00pm.
In 1956, the Jamaican Commissioner of Police assisted the with the reorganisation of Cayman’s police force. As a result, the post ‘Chief of Police’ was created which an experienced officer from Jamaica filled.
In 1959, two women were recruited to the force whose main responsibilities were handling cases involving women and children.
In 1968, the post of ‘Commissioner’ replaced ‘Chief of Police’. A constable’s salary stood at sixty pounds per annum and by 1970, the strength of the force was listed at 59.
During the 1970’s a new headquarters and central police station was constructed in George Town, VHF radio communication and radar speed guns were introduced.
By 1978, a five-day working week was adopted.
At the beginning of 1980, a local police-training centre was opened and in 1981, the Commercial Crime Branch was formed to examine fraud cases and related matters.
In 1983, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, conferred to prefix ‘Royal’ to the Cayman Islands Police Force, an honour to each and every member.
The police force underwent further reorganisations during the 1980’s and its establishment continued to grow. At the beginning of 1990, the strength of the force stood at 221 officers.
1994, the Uniform Support Group (USG) was formed and in 1996 a Community Relations Department was launched with ‘Beat Officers’ responsible for school liaison programmes and working closely with communities.
During the mid 90’s, the 911 Emergency Communications Centre was established. Its implementation enabled police personnel previously responsible for emergency communications, to be re-deployed.
In 1996, The Code of Conduct was written and implemented.
In 1997, a Policing Charter was introduced, setting out standards and quality of service that the public should expect. The word ‘Force’ was changed to ‘Service’ and the organisation was, from then on, referred to as the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS).
Central Police Station was also expanded in the 90’s with a third floor being added to the existing structure and a new cell-block built to the rear.
A full-time post for a constable in Little Cayman was created in the latter part of the 90’s whereas before incidents on the Island were covered by police from Cayman Brac.
In 1999, officers trained in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) programme and it was introduced in the schools liaison programme in 2000.
The start of 2000 saw the compliment of the RCIPS grow to 268 officers and 50 support staff. A cycle unit was also established that year with 8 patrol officers in various districts around Grand Cayman. For the first time, shorts were introduced as part of the regular uniform and were worn only by officers on cycle patrol.
Central Police Station, in George Town, was the main policing thrust, but the organisation had outstations in West Bay, Bodden Town, North Side, East End, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, as well as separate facilities for the Traffic Department, and Family Support Unit (FSU).
Further reorganisation between 2000 and 2003 saw the introduction of the Joint Intelligence Unit (JIU) that is staffed by various Law Enforcement Agencies, including the RCIPS, HM Customs and the Immigration Department.
The Scientific Support Branch was equipped with computerized fingerprint and palm identification system, ‘CAFIS’ which enabled the department to increase its efficiency.
In 2003, the name of the Central Police Station was changed to George Town Police Station to reflect the emphasis that is now placed on district policing initiatives.
Today the RCIPS is a modern police service with an establishment of over 400 officers and support staff. The systems and processes mirror those found in the United Kingdom and reflect the principles and foundations of a professional police service.
Our major policing ethos is Neighbourhood Policing which ensures that we plan and work with our communities. It is summed up by our watch-words of ‘We Care, We listen and We Act’.
We embrace the future with high expectations, a comprehensive strategic plan and a commitment to provide the very best police service possible to the people and visitors of the Cayman Islands.
Last Updated: 2011-02-01