BVI News

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Police force to become less dependent

BVI police officers during a special event. Photo Credit: Andre ‘Shadow’ Dawson/BVI News Online

Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews said there is no immediate plan to recruit overseas experts to help deal with issues such as the ‘gang culture’ facing the British Virgin Islands (BVI), adding that funds have been provided to upskill his existing workforce, thereby making the territory less dependent.

But the commissioner noted that, even with the current workforce learning additional skills, the BVI may still be required to get outside help.

“At the meeting of Caribbean commissioners [of police], we learnt for example that in Jamaica they have trained experts now in gang culture – experts that can come to court and identify the behaviours and say that is directly connected with gang behaviour [or] gang offending – that sort of thing. So that would certainly be outside help that I would be interested in if I had to deal with a major gang problem.”

“When I had spoken in the past about the fact that we do have a gang culture here, there are people that say I am wrong about that, but I stand by my beliefs and by the information and intelligence that the police service receive here,” the commissioner continued.

“It’s not all about gang violence here. Some of the offences that we are dealing with are individuals acting in isolation, but again worryingly picking up a firearm, walking into say a supermarket, committing a robbery, and putting people’s lives at risk through a pure selfish act and greed to make a small amount of money in a quick time.”

Commissioner Matthews further stated that the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force is constantly reviewing its skills set to see how best to tackle crimes.

“I always review what the skills set is of the Force. And, when we see that we’ve got a particular skill needed, if it’s not available to us locally, then I would go to the National Security Council and seek sometimes assistance for on a temporary basis, bringing in additional skill into the Force.”

“Thanks to funding that’s being made available to us, we are able to train a number of officers now on courses that we’ve been waiting to do for some time. So there’s gonna be upskilling of the existing workforce anyway, and that again is good news for the territory because once you train a local officer they can deliver those skills sets locally,” added Commissioner Matthews.

He further said: “We can try and deliver locally. I am not stupid to think we will not need help, and I know when those times occur I am in a strong position to get support from the National Security Council by taking a solid business case to them and explaining why additional help might be needed.”

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