Hero ex-Preston cop David Baines has quit as Cayman Islands Police Commissioner in the face of a bitter campaign to remove him from the job.
The former Lancashire detective, who made headlines around the world in 2014 for his Dirty Harry-style capture of three armed jewel thieves, has bowed to pressure and will leave his post next month, a year before his contract is up.
The shock news has forced the Governor of the Caribbean paradise to slam “unfair and defamatory” criticism about his leadership which, she said, had made it impossible for the police chief to continue.
“The Commissioner continues to have my support and will do so until he leaves his post,” declared Her Excellency Helen Kilpatrick. “The recent barrage of unfair criticism and defamatory comments has undermined the Commissioner’s authority to the extent that his leadership of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is no longer tenable.”
Commissioner Baines, 55, who had a distinguished 31-year police career in the North of England before taking the top job in the Cayman Islands in 2009, was hailed a hero when he single-handedly netted three robbers moments after they had snatched $1m at gunpoint from a jewellery store – on the very day it was announced he had been awarded the MBE.
He was later cleared of using unnecessary force after one of the robbers was injured, trapped under the off-duty police chief’s car during the dramatic capture. Opposition politicians have since become increasingly critical of how he runs the force and have called for a local officer to take over.
The campaign reached a head recently when two motions calling for an independent review into the management of the service were lodged in parliament.
Born in Preston, the former Deputy Chief Constable of Cheshire began his police career in Lancashire and became a chief inspector working in Special Branch and in counter-terrorism.