Frustrated by complaints process for police

| 02/10/2016

I filed a complaint with the police Professional Standards Unit, despite my colleagues advising it would be a waste of time because they don’t respond. I completed the form and sent it by e-mail. I received no response whatsoever. Undeterred, I sent the form again using the mail system and once again no response at all. This complaint was not submitted anonymously either as their website explains. How do we complain about the Professional Standards Unit?

Auntie’s answer: Right now there is no office outside the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service that handles complaints about the police. This is supposed to change sometime in the near future, but until that happens, I’m sorry to have to say that your options are not very satisfying.

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As an internal investigative unit, the PSU is obviously open to charges that it is hardly independent. Sadly, the Office of the Complaints Commissioner, which has oversight of all other government entities, does not have the legal authority to handle complaints about the police, including the PSU.

At this point, I would suggest that you approach the police commissioner with your complaint; note that Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis is Acting CoP until our new commissioner, Derek Byrne, takes up office next month.

The long-term solution, as proposed in “Project Future”, a report produced by EY back in 2014 (pages 231-232), which can be found on the CNS Library, is to create a supra-ombudsman by merging the OCC with the Information Commissioner’s Office and adding a new function to deal with public complaints about the police.

An Outline Business Case on “Establishing the Office of the Ombudsman”, which is also on the Library, was completed earlier this year by the deputy governor’s office. For the record, this report noted that a Police Public Complaints Authority is required under the Police Law, 2010, but has still not been established.

For more information on government plans to establish the post of ombudsman see the CNS report, Cop joins team creating supra-ombudsman’s office.

I wish I could tell you when all this will happen; the best I can do is point to the estimate in the OBC, which said that after approval it is expected to take nine months to implement but, of course, that is “subject to detailed project planning”.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Auntie, the Police Law specifically prevents the CoP from investigating complaints made by the public. I believe it is section 99.1. Unfortunately they cannot investigate it per law. PSU by extension is prevented by virtue of this law from investigating as well.

    If all of this seems like an oxymoron, that is because it is. It was written this way to deliberately prevent repercussions unless they are administrative or criminal. However, in order to be criminal the DPP have to get involved which they are extremely rare to do.

  2. A Nony Mouse says:

    I once had cause to file a complaint about the conduct of a certain RCIPS officer. Imagine my SHOCK upon finding the officer in question being the only person in the complaints office! This was back when the complaints office was housed in the old “Tower Building” and suffice it to say I never filed the complaint.

    Fortunately the officer in question was later removed from the police force for fraud and corruption, although it was never made public. I only know about it from a friend who was also on the force at the time. Rest assured, eventually your sins will be found out – in this life or the next!

    We need the ability to file complaints against ANY public employee, be they regular civil servants or law enforcement. No one should be above the law, especially those sworn to uphold it!