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Law Enforcement 17 Apr, 2023 Follow News


By Staff Writer

Despite a recent spike in reports of serious crimes, including several armed robberies, the just-released 2022 review of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service(RCIPS) suggests that there is “an overall downward trend” compared to previous years.

The annual review factored in the impact of the COVID pandemic on crime and policing into 2022.

“Although we saw an increase in acquisitive crime and firearm-enabled crime in 2022 compared to 2021, when looking at the past five years, the numbers are in line with pre-pandemic years, and overall show a downward trend,” the report said.

According to the RCIPs, “Overall, regarding crime, we saw ongoing success in reducing the most serious criminal offences, and success in bringing some of our worst offenders to justice, ensuring that the Cayman Islands remain a safe place to live, work, visit and do business.”

Senior RCIPs officers have concluded that compared to other places in the region the Cayman Islands remains relatively safe, leading to a suggestion that the ongoing efforts are aimed at making Cayman “the place that crime forgot”.

However, challenges remain.


The growing presence of illegal drugs continues to be a source of worry for the RCIPS.

With CI$ 4 million in street value confiscated, largely through the effort of the coast guard, Police Commissioner Derek Byrne said it’s a matter of much and which has their full attention.

Approximately 2915 lbs/1322kg of ganja (valued at ~CI$2.9 million), and 123 lbs/56kg cocaine (valued at ~CI$1.1 million were recovered last year.

“The first thing we need to acknowledge is that drugs is a problem on the island,” he stated.

“Historically we spike about ganja, now our concerns are shifted to opioid use and that includes cocaine, crack cocaine and also our colleagues in Customs and Border Control(CBC) have done phenomenal work in terms of detecting fentanyl imported by post. They had three significant detections there recently.”

Commissioner Byrne warned of the serious risks both to the community and to the officers on the front line of the drugs battle, especially those involved in handling these substances while carrying out their duties.

Several robberies have also been linked to illegal drugs.

The Police Commissioner said interdictions by the coast guard is sending a message to criminals that Cayman is not an easy target, although he admitted that some drugs do slip through the net.

He said the RCIPS continues to work collaboratively with its partners in the region on drug interdiction and other areas.


On the controversial topic of ‘numbers games’ - or the popular underground illegal gambling - Police Commissioner Byrnes maintains a tough stance against it on the basis that it is linked to serious crimes including armed robberies, and is connected to overseas crime syndicates.

Legislation on whether this gambling should be decriminalised has been tabled in Parliament and is presently being reviewed.

“Some of the people involved in illegal gambling are now protecting themselves by providing ‘muscle’(bodyguards) available to themselves,” Commissioner Byrne said in response to a question from Caymanian Times.

“How we quantify that is a major difficulty because it is not being reported to us. Do I think it’s gone away? No, I don’t. Do I think it’s having an impact on the community? Yes, I do.”


Traffic violations, largely due to driver error, continue to be a worry for the police and a community scourge.

“We’ve been refocusing our efforts on DUI (driving under the influence) and indeed speed,” Commissioner Byrne said. “There’s a lot more to be done on roads when you see the number of accidents that have occurred in 2022, you can see how traffic behaviour is impacting safety. So there’s going to be much more focus on enforcement for speeding and DUI.”


The RCIPS credits itself with setting a high bar for detecting crime and following through the process from arrests to trial and conviction.

But as explained by Detective Superintendent Peter Lansdown, a serious bottleneck is working across Cayman’s dual crime recording system which utilises both American and British methods.

“We try and adhere to the UK Home Office counting rules so that we can judge ourselves against like forces in the UK system. The difficulty we’ve had is applying that to our Records Management System(RMS) which is American and doesn’t recognise the same detection rules. So, we’ve had to change the IT and we’ve had to try and simplify some of the UK counting rules.”

Mr Lansdown said the RCIPS is now adapting a UK approach called the victim sanction, adding that “this is an island where an awful lot of victims ask for people to be warned, they don’t want to take the suspect to court.”

The RCIPS with a strength of 391 personnel including front-line and administrative staff has also set up special units and subdivisions focusing on money laundering, cybercrime and domestic abuse working alongside other government agencies and community organisations.

The service has made a submission to the government to beef up its human and material resources.

Crime statistics snapshot for 2022

  * In total there were 3,810 recorded crimes in 2022 an increase of 128 (3.5%) over 2021

  * 760 violent crimes in 2022, a reduction of 49 (6%) compared to 2021. Four persons were murdered in 2022, compared to three in 2021.

  * 95 firearms crimes or firearm-related crimes. A firearm was discharged in 26 of these. 16 firearms were recovered last year.

  * 376 recorded crimes involving domestic violence, a reduction of 35 (9%)

  * 154 drugs offences, a reduction of 11 (7%)

* 1,227 acquisitive crimes (burglary, robbery, theft, criminal trespass) an increase of 204 (20%)

  * The Traffic and Roads Policing Unit (TRPU) issued 9,437 tickets for traffic offences. This is an increase of 340 tickets (4%) compared to 2021. And there was a total of 234 summons for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offences, a decrease of 51 (-37%) compared to 2021. Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) attended by the TRPU increased by 282 (11%) compared to 2021, with a total of 15 road fatalities, an increase of six fatalities compared to 2021.

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