September 23, 2021

Cayman Islands police initiates forums of cooperation with private sector

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Nighttime Economy ForumIn recent weeks newly-appointed Superintendent of Uniform and District Operations, Robert Graham, who is the strategic lead on implementing the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) community policing strategy, has been holding various meetings with community stakeholders. Last week he convened meetings of daytime and nighttime business forums in an effort to better understand the needs of the business sector and to build purposeful partnerships.

 On Wednesday, 6 July, Supt. Graham met with retail, small business and rental property owners at the Chamber of Commerce, followed by a separate meeting on Friday, 8 July at Margaritaville with bar, restaurant and nightclub owners and managers.

 “I am an advocate of neighbourhood policing and believe more can be achieved when working closely with the community,” said Superintendent Graham, “we have launched these forums in order to learn what the needs are, to work in partnership to promote a safe environment, and ultimately to deliver the service expected of us.  We cannot do on our own, but in partnership with other stakeholders we know we can achieve better results.”

 At the Retail Business Forum on Wednesday, Supt. Graham and PC Jonathan Kern, the Neighborhood Officer for the waterfront, briefed the attendees on the RCIPS’ renewed emphasis on neighborhood policing and crime prevention methods; they also asked attendees for their top priorities and concerns.  Among other issues, those present emphasized their concerns about burglaries, especially on rental properties, as well as the onerous costs of added security. The discussion then evolved towards modes of cooperation, such as collective information-sharing among businesses and police via social media, and shop or retail-watch programs.

 “As business people we are geared toward problem-solving,” said Paul Pearson, President, Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, “so once we voice a problem we’re quick to move on to what can be done about it. I am happy to say that we recognized the same approach from the police and were very encouraged that they called this meeting. We are prepared to facilitate regular meetings that will lead to the introduction of community-based strategies to improve public safety and to protect the interests of all residents and the business community.”

 During the Nighttime Economy Forum on Friday, bar and restaurant owners also welcomed the initiative by police to engage with them and seek their views, but also listed crime-related concerns.  Most spoke of the difficulty in combatting drugs in or around their establishments, the brazenness of some antisocial behavior, and their willingness to work with police in whatever ways to reduce such behavior on their premises.  

 “What we’ve heard most clearly throughout both meetings is the community’s need for a more visible police presence, and we will strive to respond to that,” said Supt. Graham, “I am very excited at the enthusiasm I’ve seen at these meetings to build a partnership with us; I know it can have a great impact.”

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