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Police District Meetings Successful

A series of community meetings held in the Eastern Districts this week have been deemed a success by Area Commander, Chief Inspector Richard Barrow. Meetings were held in Bodden Town, East End and North Side as part of efforts by the RCIPS to engage with the community it serves, keep residents updated on policing matters and hear what issues are affecting the community.

"Although some of the meetings were very well attended it would, of course, be welcoming to see more people come on out," commented Mr Barrow. "What was very welcoming during this round was the participation of other agencies such as the Youth Services Unit. We are very grateful for their support and our thanks are sent to them."

In Bodden Town, residents spoke to issues such as staffing and the recruitment of local officers. Mr Barrow highlighted that there are many Caymanian officers in senior positions within the RCIPS and that efforts to attract local applicants continue. One resident called for more interaction between officers and residents and highlighted the good example set by some current staff. Bodden Town MLA, Mr Osbourne Bodden was in attendance and offered his support for the community meeting process which allows residents to voice their concerns. He also stated that he had personally seen an improvement in policing but continues to have concerns about the school zone speed limits being violated. In closing, he called for more focus on traffic issues and pledged his support to the police. A presentation was given by Lisa Charlton of the Youth Services Unit which outlined services available in the district and programmes that are on offer.

In East End, updates from police included the high level of traffic offences detected recently and the additional assets in the Marine Unit which will no doubt assist with tackling the arrival of drugs on our shores. Minister for Communication, Works and Infrastructure Hon. Arden McLean was in attendance and applauded the efforts of Neighborhood Officer Treva McIntosh which, he said, is a testament to community involvement and a key component in the success of policing in East End.

Residents expressed support for the police, while highlighting that the police cannot tackle crime alone. Concerns voiced centered on a desire for an increased police presence in the district and young persons using go-carts at night. Two presentations were made; one by the Financial Crimes Unit and one by Youth Coordinator, Sylvia Wilks. Both were well received and there was a high level of participation by the audience on both topics.

The final meeting in North Side followed much the same format. Policing updates were given highlighting a number of traffic prosecutions and some recent drugs arrests.

Officers also highlighted a spate of recent break-ins at vacant homes in the district. Burglary prevention packs were handed out and crime prevention tips were given. The Neighbourhood Policing activity update included a poster and essay competition on road safety and drug awareness which was carried out at North Side Primary School. A presentation was also made by the Youth Services Unit which was very well received with a number of people offering to volunteer their time to assist with the development of young people in the district. Areas of concern included the use of Jet Skiís close to the shoreline and residents called for more interaction with officers working in the district.

"Overall, we are very pleased with how the meetings went," said Mr Barrow. "We can only know what the community are thinking if we get out and ask them, and if they come forward to tell us," he said. Mr Barrow pledged that comments and concerns raised will be taken on board when looking at priorities for policing the Eastern Districts.

The next round of community meetings will be the Island-wide Commissioners meetings which are scheduled to take place in January, 2009.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.