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Statement of Derek Byrne, Cayman Islands Commissioner of Police, on Illegal Motorbike Activity

Statement of Derek Byrne, Commissioner of Police, on Illegal Motorbike Activity, 30 November

Illegal and dangerous motorbike activity is a problem in Grand Cayman, and the reduction of this activity has been, and continues to be, a priority for the RCIPS.

What occurred last Sunday was a deplorable public spectacle by an exhibitionist rogue element within the larger law-abiding motorbiking community. These rogue bikers demonstrated that they have no regard for their safety or for the safety of anyone else. It has been established, however, that a whole range of people participated in the event, male and female, youths and adults, and not everyone rode dangerously or illegally, and not all bikes were unregistered or uninsured.

In such situations as took place last Sunday, police are presented with a range of tactical options which are largely dependent on the prevailing conditions.  Very careful consideration and risk assessment is required to ensure that the actions of the police do not result in serious or fatal injuries to motorcyclists or innocent motorists or pedestrians.   With regard to the prevailing conditions last Sunday, the tactical option employed was one of disruption as opposed to pursuit and arrest, which could have caused serious or fatal injuries to motorcyclists or road users. The event was disrupted, one person was arrested, and ten bikes were seized.  The key outcome for the police and community is that there was no loss of life and no injuries.  I accept that the RCIPS lost some ground on Sunday, but the community can be assured we are hard at work to tackle the problem.

To provide a long-term, sustainable solution to the problem of illegal motorbike activity I have established a Task Force, headed by DCP Kurt Walton, which includes Customs, Immigration, DVDL, importing companies and civil society.  It is reaching out to members of the motorbiking community who want a safe a legal way to ride.  It will also look at enforcement, and ways legislation can be enhanced to assist in the prosecution of those who insist on riding illegally.  In addition, an investigation team has been formed and is gathering evidence from Sunday’s event in order to identify and arrest perpetrators, and seize bikes.  CCTV and other footage is being analyzed, and we appeal for anyone with footage of Sunday’s event to refer it to us at [email protected].  Masked riders menacing other road users and flouting road laws is totally unacceptable, and the lack of an established track on island is no excuse for such behaviour.

From a policing perspective, while enforcement is imperative, the measure of the success of our efforts is not the number of arrests and prosecutions, but the reduction and disruption of illegal activity and dangerous riding on the road. Countries in Europe and elsewhere have also grappled with illegal motorbike activity, and dangerous pursuits and strong-arm tactics have been used with very mixed results. Enforcement that occurs will be firm, but proportionate and balanced, and done with consideration for public safety. However, enforcement alone will not solve this problem. The only resolution will come about through partnership with other agencies and the community at large.



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