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Not seeing police doesn’t mean we’re not working

Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews

“Just because you don’t see us doing it, doesn’t mean we are not,” says Police Commissioner Michael Matthews who has the unenviable task of leading a police force now scrambling to solve the gun crimes sweeping across the island of Tortola.

The commissioner was referring to local law enforcers carrying out search operations that lead to the capture of perpetrators committing these crimes.

He made the statement amid concerns from anxious residents desperate to know how investigations are progressing.

Matthews said while regular updates from police are not forthcoming; detectives are making ‘good progress’ in a number of key investigations.

He did not specify.

“I can virtually reveal nothing about any of our present findings without undermining and even jeopardizing the ongoing work of my detectives. In fact, I have been warned about just that – not saying too much. The least said the better chances of us not only arresting perpetrators but arresting them with tight and sealed cases.”

“I will be the first to say that patience is not one of my virtues. I am keen to see offenders brought to justice as quickly as possible,” he added.

However, the top cop said only a small amount of residents who have information about crimes have come forward so far. He said this makes solving crimes more challenging for police.

“It will take longer and my detectives will have to work harder to identify and gather the evidence necessary to arrest these criminals, especially in the aftermath of last year’s destructive events that have left the territory vulnerable,” Matthews explained.

Within the last several days, there has been a double homicide and several reported shootings; some resulting in injuries.

Curfew doesn’t stop crime

Since then, there have been calls for authorities to take more aggressive measures to curtail crime.

Just recently, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie lobbied for more stop-search operations as one such measure.

Others have suggested that authorities consider reimplementing a curfew in the British Virgin Islands.

But, the commissioner said no curfew can prevent serious crime.

“I know that the vast majority of our citizens are good and law-abiding. That is why I personally do not feel a curfew or the overuse of standard stop-search operations would be effective or a valuable use of our limited resource — targeted, intelligence-led searches are, and that is exactly what we will continue to do,” Commissioner Matthews said.

The commissioner expressed similar sentiments following a previous double-murder involving a man and an 11-year-old girl some three months ago.

They were shot and killed in West End minutes before the curfew that was implemented in the BVI at the time.

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23 Comments

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  1. stop playing operator says:

    The police need to get up off their backsides and do their work instead of sitting on their butts awaiting phone calls

  2. bvi says:

    If he was malone or frazer we all would’ve been asking for their resignations, ain’t so?

  3. :( says:

    Well … it looks like you aren’t doing a damn thing about it to most of us!

    This is the first we have heard from you on the matter, nothing from the Governor, and next to nothing from our elected officials.

    I’m guessing things probably need to get a little worse before anything is done?

    It seems even the most basic enforcement of simple laws cannot be achieved by you guys!

    Be careful – our faith is crumbling!

    • Dodge City Resident says:

      Spot on, except my faith crumbled long ago.

      I wonder what the excuse is for letting the scooter gangs laugh at the law.

  4. Justice must be served says:

    We need these gunmen/gangs out of our community cause we definitely don’t want another innocent child gunned down by these DEMONS that are now plagues upon our BVI. I wonder what more it will take for those who know who these killers are to speak up and help the police to take them off our streets.

  5. Diplomat says:

    Mick, true, every police department has under cover cops; under cover cops are more effective within large communities. But the Comish will hopefully agree that police presence deters crime and criminals. If criminals know it is more likely to see green donkeys flying than to see cops on the beat, they are more likely than not to violate the law and commit crimes, knowing that it is highly unlikely that they will get apprehended. Cops need to be out on the beat, ie, foot patrol, mobile patrol, air patrol as needed, marine patrol, motor cycle patrol, and bicycle patrol. Does each district still have local constable(s)?

    In regards to curfews and stop and searches, I’m not averse go both when needed to maintain law and order or to apprehend criminals. However, both tactics must be employed so as not to trample on residents civil liberties. The many should not have to suffer unnecessarily and unfavorably for the actions and bad behaviour of the few. Crime is a quality of life issue. It is an economic issue. It is a social issue.

  6. Allowe says:

    Bring back death penalty for serious crimes against citizens.

  7. insane says:

    This commissioner of police sounds insane and it may be time for him to take a walk. How on earth could stop and searches not be beneficial in solving crimes? Hey if even 1 firearm is taken off the street, that is one less. Police needs to be seen throughout the communities. Hell if none is visible, then none will be respected.

  8. John Locke Rousseau says:

    We are looking to the wrong sources and humanity for expected service, governance and results.

    We need to begin looking at ourselves; our rationalism and sense of belonging. We should be looking to our people to solve our problems.

    Yet, if those men were us, there would be calls for resignation and all other from their jobs, yet we hear no such. Why?

    The “natural” will to protect and serve our own now and into the future does not exist in the DNA of the leaders of this community.

    They are appointed humans sent to maintain a dead, undemocratic, and antiquated political philosophy constructed out of gun boat diplomacy centuries ago.

    They are humanly and political far removed from any personal or psychological connections to us.

    We have to look to ourselves to find ways and means of solving our own problems by having faith and trust in each other.

    By working and building our communities and trust together.; By standing up for right and wrong when needed, even if it means exposing your own brother or having to take alternative measures to continue living.

    We must begin thinking about us for us and doing for us, and stop looking for service and help from where it will never come.

  9. Interested but separate says:

    Having worked with the police service I would simply point out that whilst there are a number of good officers, they are outnumbered by an apathetic, unfit, disinterested majority who are exceptionally poorly led by weak and indifferent managers (not including the Commissioner and his Deputy who are good as is one of the superintendents. There is minimal discipline, they are more interested in their mobile phones and food than preventing and detecting crime, they are underfunded, undertrained, have poor communications and are dysfunctions, and this was before Irma. They had had help from UK detectives for many, many years to develop their crime investigation capacity and capability and seem still unable to deal with even the simplest of homicide investigation on their own – they have become dependent on outside help with no desire to get better themselves. The island has a security vacuum, the RVIPF are not up to dealing with this level of criminality. I would fully expect that if you stripped them out and replaced them with experienced officers from other more developed forces anywhere in the region or indeed abroad, there would be a sea change in safety and security – you have a small indigenous pool from which to recruit and unfortunately this is now telling. It could be so much better but you reap what you sow.

    • Seriously says:

      This is interesting because it exactly matches my impression. The doctors and nurses stayed at the hospital assisting patients and waiting for injured people during and after the storm. They did not know if their own families were ok yet they stayed because they knew that they were critical. The police were also critical for safety and security. For protecting the food stores and local businesses. And yet, I am told, it was very difficult to get the local officers to come back to work. And that showed by the lack of police presence and the freedom to loot. I get that everyone wanted to tend to their families. But if you work in emergency services you have sworn to put your work first. It seemed that only those in the health field were dedicated enough to the community. Those people that worked during and immediately after the storm should be recognized. And those that abandoned their post should be reprimanded.

  10. East Side Local says:

    many police officer clock in or sign in and hop home in them house since Irma and then you would see them leaving them house 15 minutes pass four they heading town n back home by 20 minutes to five

  11. bvi says:

    What we need is another local {who has the country at heart} to be police chief

  12. John Locke Rousseau says:

    Wonder how Scotland Detectives get their info Online now? by ratting neighbors putting their lives at risk? We know better Johnson! But we got yah!

  13. MD says:

    I have seen you too many times on the beach, on a boat and in restaurants when the needs where high. I’m very sorry that your expectations of having an easy life on a friendly Caribbean island didn’t work out, but now you either take your task more serious or resign and make place for another leader of the police force. Do you really understand the magnitude of your responsibility? Stop partying with your expat friends, even stop sleeping and start working until you fall over as the people depend on you for protection. It looks like everyone knows what to do, except yourself; start with the basics and enforce the law on the streets.

  14. Been Before says:

    You are all, by your reticence, in danger of losing your beautiful island, in terms of your reputation as a place of beauty, and as such, for the most part, your economy.
    It is enough that the good do nothing, for evil to prevail.
    Those who remain silent seem to put more trust in those ruining your Island, than those trying to save it.
    Please wake up before it is all too late.

  15. Tony Blair says:

    CoP if you blanket the streets with those patrol cars and officers something is bound to shake loose. In the course of DOING some foot work like patrolling, inspecting, observing and ticketing, you WILL gain information.

  16. Sherlock says:

    Big hat, no catchy

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