Crime Scene Investigation Unit
The Crime Scene Investigation Unit (CSIU) is the forensic department within the RCIPS, comprised of five qualified crime scene investigators and one trainee, all civilians, supervised by a detective sergeant. CSIU officers work closely with investigating officers to document, photograph and collect evidence from crime scenes, which they process for latent prints and other physical evidence.
With the collection of evidence, crime scene investigators will often times have to carry out additional work on the evidence that they have collected, such as processing porous and non-porous surfaces with different chemicals and forensic light sources to enhance fingerprints. The Crime scene investigators will also collect swabs for further analyses at the Cayman Island Forensic Science Laboratory. The RCIPS is fortunate to have a DNA Lab in the Cayman Islands which holds our DNA database. All other evidence that is collected that requires further examination is sent to the relevant Laboratories overseas.
The Fingerprint Bureau forms a part of the CSIU and is run by one officer; the officer operates a database on the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) that matches unknown latent prints lifted at crime scenes for positive identifications with fingerprints held within the database. Fingerprint identifications identify up to 30% of cases submitted using AFIS; a majority of these identifications lead to charges at court.
Civilian officers with the Crime Scene Investigation Unit also operate a ballistics hub for Cayman and the UK Overseas Territories, established in 2016 with funding from the FCO Conflict, Security and Stabilization Fund. Bullets, cartridge cases or guns recovered, which previously had to be analyzed off-island before the hub was launched, are now analyzed in under an hour using three machines within the hub that comprise the Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS). The IBIS enables officers to gather potential leads on guns and bullets from crimes in both the Cayman Islands and across the UKOT, and the hub itself acts as a database for all the ballistics information it receives from all these jurisdictions. Since its inception until the end of 2017, the hub has successfully provided potential hits (matches) in the Cayman Islands and 2 other islands within the overseas territories.
The Exhibits Stores form another part of the CSIU, and are staffed by two civilian personnel who are responsible for the care, custody and control of property and evidence recovered during investigations.
CSIU officers provide crime scene and evidence awareness training to new officers as well as refresher training for others in the Service. This training is also provided to other law enforcement agencies in the Cayman Islands.
All CSIU officers work from Grand Cayman, however, they travel to the Sister Islands whenever investigative needs require.