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18 gun robberies last year – BVI to test bullets

File photo. Not the bullets mentioned in the story

File photo. Not the bullets mentioned in the story

The British Virgin Islands (BVI), which said it recorded 18 robberies involving guns last year, hopes to start testing its own bullet fragments and other ballistic materials next month.

Those materials found at the scenes of crime in the BVI are currently tested on St Croix in the neighbouring US Virgin Islands.

Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews recently told the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Assembly that the necessary funding to make the shift is being provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The committee, in its report tabled yesterday, said: “The commissioner explained that any material they (police) found in terms of spent casings, fragments of bullets, etcetera had to be put on a plane with a police officer and flown to St Croix where the American authority assisted them, but they were not a priority to them.”

“…They (BVI police) were also about to take possession of an FCO-funded Integrated Ballistic Information System known as IBIS, due to come online in March, 2017. This would allow them (BVI police) to undertake local examination of ballistic material found at scenes of crime,” the Standing Finance Committee further said in its report.

It, in the meantime, said Commissioner Matthews reported that there was an increase in the number of gun-related robberies committed in the BVI last year, compared to the year 2015.

But the commissioner stated that there was a 4 percent reduction in overall crime last year, and a detection rate of 49 percent.

The parliamentary committee further reports the commissioner as saying: “There were four murders recorded in 2016, one of which was detected and was awaiting trial. The detection rate for serious violence was 68 percent.”

“Nonetheless, there was a rise in robberies.There were 18 robberies involving firearms in the territory. This was an increase compared to 2015, and the police had a problem when it came to serious violence and serious acts involving firearms,” added the Standing Finance Committee report.

It did not mention how many robberies were committed without the use of firearms.

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