Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries



Fatality accident following police pursuit

Investigation | 07 January 2022
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS)

The Ombudsman was notified by the RCIPS in January 2021 that a vehicle being pursued by police crashed in West Bay, killing a passenger inside the vehicle. Our office later received a formal complaint about the incident from the surviving passenger.

According to the investigation, the vehicle drove away from a police checkpoint in George Town and travelled up West Bay Road with an RCIPS officer in pursuit for about two kilometers before the officer lost sight of the vehicle. The vehicle involved in the pursuit lost control, left the road and crashed into a house, killing the front seat passenger and causing serious injuries to both the driver and rear seat passenger.

The Ombudsman’s office commenced an investigation into the incident as required under section 8 of the Police (Complaints by the Public) Act.

Our investigation reviewed the RCIPS vehicle pursuit policy used to govern officers’ actions in such incidents. We found it was apparent the driver of the vehicle being pursued had no intention to stop for police and that the officer involved in the pursuit was not an authorised police pursuit driver under this policy. Therefore, the policy prohibits the officer involved from engaging in “pursuit driving” meaning driving in excess of the speed limit. The investigation found the officer also failed to consider additional risks in his decision to pursue, including the weather, wet road conditions and the time of night the pursuit occurred.

The Ombudsman was persuaded by the conclusions in the police crash analyst and reconstruction expert’s report – that the vehicle was being pursued at high speed by the police officer, the officer did not properly assess the risk and did not consider the pursuit policy or identify safer options to address the incident. The officer’s conduct in the performance of his duties was, therefore, found to be unsatisfactory.

The Ombudsman recommended that the Commissioner of Police consider discipline for the police officer involved in this incident.