Commencing at the beginning of November, members of the community will see new RCIPS Community Safety Officers (CSOs) take to the streets and communities of the Cayman Islands. These new CSOs are not police officers, but civilian members of the local community, who will be patrolling communities and identifying issues of concern, while helping to bridge the gap between the police and the community.
11 of the 12 approved positions have been filled and the 11 selected CSOs have recently completed their induction training. They will each be deployed in a specific district, where they will work closely with local community members, stakeholders, and partners, to problem solve and address local issues. The CSOs have been provided with a unique uniform, and will utilize specific vehicles, both of which are clearly marked to identify them as Community Safety Officers. West Bay, Bodden Town, and George Town each have three CSOs assigned to them, while East End and Cayman Brac have each been assigned a single CSO. There is also a post available for a North Side CSO, which has not yet been filled.
“With one exception, each CSO actually lives in the district they will be working in,” said Superintendent of Uniform Operations, Robert Graham. “This means each of the new CSOs have a vested interest in what’s going on and a real commitment to addressing the issues that the community believes are important. I see this new introduction of the CSOs as a real and very tangible difference to the way we work with and for our communities. It will build upon our ability to identify local issues and also improve our responsiveness through enhanced working relationships within local communities. This is about really focusing on those issues that cause the local community the most concern and addressing those concerns through an improved partnership approach.”
The CSOs will be deployed at key times, based on local requirements, for up to twenty hours per week, and their deployments will be directed by the Inspector in charge of the Community Policing Department, Courtney Myles.
“I am extremely delighted to see the launch of the Community Safety Officer programme, which will come under my management, as they are now part of the RCIPS community policing team,” said Inspector Myles. “It will enhance public safety while building on our community partnerships. I see this as a positive step in the community and have no doubt it will make a real difference to the Cayman Islands.”
The Community Safety Officer programme was one of the campaign manifestos of Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin and has been delivered by the RCIPS Commissioner’s Office with the support of the Cayman Islands Government.
“Tackling crime was a major campaign issue for all of us in Government. As such, we budgeted some $270 million for national security and committed to putting into place a dedicated community policing programme. We have seen that community policing does make a difference and as such I welcome this new Community Safety Officer programme,” said the Premier. “We, as a Government, are doing what we need to in order to financially support the RCIPS, and I am satisfied that under the leadership of the current Commissioner and his senior team the RCIPS has taken seriously this Government’s commitment to keeping our communities safe and reducing gun crime in the Cayman Islands.”