By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff
Have you ever wondered what happens to illegal guns after local law enforcement recover them?
Here in the British Virgin Islands, Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews has made it clear that the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) has no interest in repurposing or reusing the weapons.
After a gun is recovered, it is stored in police custody to be used as evidence for any criminal proceedings.
“All firearms seized are forensically examined and logged on our database. Once no longer required as evidence, we would supervise the destruction of any firearm and ammunition to ensure their permanent disposal,” Commissioner Matthews told BVI News.
The RVIPF has made a notable number of gun busts since the start of this year.
Statistics from the police department have indicated that a total of 10 illegal guns have been seized in the territory for 2018.
Where are they coming from?
Commissioner Matthews said intelligence suggests that these illegal weapons are being smuggled in the territory in small private boats or smuggled in personal baggage.
“Our porous borders and the geography of the islands in general means this is challenging to police effectively.”
“We are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry around the illegal smuggling of such firearms into the territory,” he said.
Matthews continued: “We continue to regularly undertake joint intervention and search operations with Customs, Immigration and ports security to send a clear message that we intend to target those who selfishly choose to place our communities at risk from the use of an illegal firearm.
This, he said, will include regular searches of public and private vessels arriving in the territory.
In the meantime, residents are being urged to work with police to help stamp out the smuggling trade.
“A piece of intelligence or information no matter how small could prevent your community being the next location that a smuggled firearm is discharged,” the top cop said.
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