October 25, 2020

WE’RE HERE TO HELP: But UK chief says his team will stay safe

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Merseyside Police Chief Constable Jon Murphy (left), RCIPS Commissioner David Baines and Chief Superintendent Tony Doherty, also from the UK. (Photo by Diana Willington.)

The 20 UK detectives arriving in Cayman this week and next will not patrol troubled communities or process crime scenes, but will interview witnesses, handle evidence and help build RCIPS court cases.

“They are not going into crime scenes, and they won’t do cordons or remove bodies, but rather will be involved in the investigations in the aftermath, making judgements, visiting neighhbours and interviewing witnesses. They will not be put in harm’s way,” said Commissioner of Police David Baines on Friday.

“They are not scenes-of-crime officers, but will process and handle evidence and exhibits,” he said.

Introducing Merseyside Chief Constable Jon Murphy, head of the “crime business area” of the UK’s Association of Chief Police Officers, and Chief Inspector Tony Doherty — who arrived on Monday — Mr Baines said the officers would “complement “RCIPS efforts to probe the five 13-22 September gangland murders and one wounding.

He would divide the visiting officers among various investigative teams, “enhancing their capabilities and skill sets, each of them working alongside others”, under RCIPS team leaders.

“The officers are very professional,” Mr Murphy said, “and it’s a short-time assignment. I am here because I wanted to know what I was sending my officers into and who bore the duty of responsibility for them.

“The RCIPS,” he said, “is doing a very good job with limited resources. I have 7,000 officers under me in Merseyside, and I’d be stretched by five murders.”

Mr Murphy said he had met members of the Legislative Assembly on Friday morning, and had been “pleasantly surprised. There is some very advanced thinking about building relationships with young people, and not just confrontation.

“Enforcement is not the solution to the gang problem,” he said. “It is an indispensable part and ‘bad guys’ have to be taken off the street, but if you want to solve it, you need education, youth services and government departments to join in and share the problem. Sports is a good way to address it.”

The officers, four of whom arrived on Thursday, others on Friday and the balance next week, have been drawn from across Britain’s northwest, Mr Murphy said.

Officers from the UK will not be involved in cordons or removing bodies

They will spend six weeks and could remain longer if necessary, although Mr Baines hoped to limit their stay.

He said the Attorney-General was nearly ready to approach the LA with a series of legal amendments, most immediately to “deeming legislation” shifting the burden of proof as regards ownership of guns and drugs — and the incidence of gang-related tattoos, clothing and hand signs — from police to those possessing the items.

“One of the problems you have,” said Mr Murphy, “is that, unlike deep-rooted gang culture in US cities, but similar to Cayman, in the UK, there is very little in gang tattoos and uniforms, and because American cities are laid out on a grid system, it gives clear territorial boundaries.

“What we have in the UK, instead of city blocks, divisions were overlaid with friends and schools”.

He observed that “anti-social behavour” legislation “was very useful” in the UK, making it possible to break up low-level groups and associations that could escalate into more serious criminality.

“You need a good intelligence system and to engender trust in the community. That is invaluable, creating trust and building relationships with young people,” Mr Murphy said.

 

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