Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews swore in the last four recruits today, bringing the total to 31 new officers – the largest recruitment class in the history of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).
With the RVIPF celebrating its 50th anniversary, this exceptionally large class boasts a number of other notable firsts.
Over 40% of the class is BVIslanders or Belongers, with 16 males and 15 females.
For the first time, an officer from the Philippines has been recruited. There are also three officers from the Dominican Republic – the first time that many is being recruited at the same time.
According to the RVIPF, this is the first time it has received more successful applicants than available positions.
Among the 31 officers sworn in were four auxiliary officers.
During the swearing-in ceremony, Commissioner Matthews told the new recruits that he was not only elated with the number of applicants, but also the number of those who successfully passed through the qualification process.
“You are here because you met our high standards. The qualification process is not easy, but we wanted the best of the best. Therefore, we congratulate you. I speak from personal experience when I say I can think of no better way to serve this territory and its people than by being a police officer,” added the commissioner.
The RVIPF’s newest officers will today enter a ‘demanding’ six-month police training programme – the second one held in the territory.
Formerly, recruits were sent to the Regional Police Training School in Barbados for basic training.
Chief Instructor Acting Inspector Westmore Jeffers said the training is rigorous and challenging, beginning with early morning physical exercise, a full day of instruction, and late-night studies in preparation for assignments the following day.
“The police training curriculum covers the foundation of policing in both theory and practice. It also covers Virgin Islands history, which is so important for young officers to understand and appreciate in relation to the communities we serve. The new recruits must dig deep and be resourceful in order to progress successfully through the stages of the curriculum,” he said.
In-class instruction is being coordinated by Acting Inspector Jeffers, while training is being delivered by Sergeant Beverly James and Acting Sergeant Nicholas Tranquille. Specialist training will be provided by other officers of the RVIPF.
The new recruits will occupy the refurbished barracks at the Road Town Police Station for the duration of the six-month training programme.
Lectures on all aspects of law enforcement will be conducted at the Marine Centre at H Lavity Stoutt Community College.
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