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7 illegal guns seized – Cops lament porous borders

Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews

Police have confiscated seven illegal firearms and ‘several’ rounds of ammunition since the start of the year, according to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF), which also declared that it is engaging the community in a territory-wide crackdown to reduce the number of illegal firearms available.

The RVIPF made the declaration in a press statement yesterday (July 12) – a day after Premier Dr D Orlando Smith stated that the RVIPF has been provided with additional money, and so he is ‘demanding’ that the police ‘step up their efforts to respond to and solve open criminal cases’.

Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews, while not mentioning the premier’s comments, noted that ‘there is a lot of overt and covert police work going on behind the scenes into the early morning hours’.

He made another special appeal for the public to provide the names of persons seen with guns, or suspected of having or importing illegal firearms into the British Virgin Islands.

Commissioner Matthews added: “Stop searches in the past were successful. But, today, with the communication devices and networks available to tip off possible suspects, stop-searches are not as effective as they used to be. They are most effective if persons provide information on possible suspects.”

“We don’t need your name or address – you can be anonymous. Just tell us directly who has firearms and where they are. We don’t need to know anything else. We will take it from there. This will add value and productivity to the time we are out there.”

Commissioner Matthews further stated that securing the territory’s borders is a major challenge.

“The ease with which persons are able to secure firearms in this territory is no doubt because security of our borders is difficult to police 24 hours a day. This is not unique to the Virgin Islands; much of the territories in the Caribbean face the same dilemma.”

“We just need to put fear in those who dare to have a firearm or to make it very difficult for someone to keep it or carry it around. That happens in a society where there is an absolute intolerant to persons illegally holding or carrying a firearm. Therefore, report any one who is seen or who is believed to have a firearm and we will do the rest,” Commissioner Matthews further said.

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