Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries



Police official sounds vehicle horn outside private residence

Investigation | 31 January 2022
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS)

The complainant in the matter raised two issues: First, that the Commissioner of Police sounded the horn of a police vehicle outside the complainant’s property for approximately three to four minutes after arriving at the location. Second, that a decision was made, on the instructions of the Commissioner, to tow a vehicle away from the residence without having what the complainant considered to be “lawful authority.”

The Ombudsman was aware that there had been a long-standing dispute between neighbors at this location and that the Commissioner was called to respond by one of the individuals involved in that dispute. The initial report to 911 on the evening the incident occurred alleged that one of the residents had blocked access to and from the other residents’ property with vehicles parked in the front yard of the home. The Commissioner stated he received a personal phone call from the resident who had been blockaded and decided to respond to the location directly, as no police officers had arrived at that time.

The evidence reviewed in the complaint did show the horn of the Commissioner’s unmarked police vehicle was sounded outside the residence for three to four minutes, prior to the Commissioner making contact with the resident at the door of his home. The resident stated he did not respond to the horn-sounding because the vehicle was unmarked and that he was scared.

Based on the facts of the investigation, the Ombudsman found the Commissioner’s action when sounding his horn was not consistent with the RCIPS Code of Ethics, particularly with respect to the second standard: authority, respect and courtesy. The Ombudsman did find that the Commissioner had lawful authority under the Traffic Act to tow the vehicle blocking access to the property and that he did so in a courteous and professional manner.

A recommendation was made to the Governor to review the incident with the Commissioner with a view to identifying alternative courses of action for such incidents in the future.