Premier Dr D Orlando Smith yesterday told the House of Assembly that crime decreased by 4 percent last year when compared to the year 2015, adding that plans are afoot to enhance the police firearms response mechanisms ‘in line with crime risks’ being faced.
Despite the decrease in overall crime, the territory’s political leader said his government is still concerned about the number of serious offences taking place.
“In 2016, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) recorded a 4 percent reduction in crime, compared to 2015. However, my government has a zero-tolerance approach to crime. And, while we applaud the efforts of the commissioner and his staff, we will not rest on our laurels. In any case, as recent weeks have demonstrated, offences involving serious crime have taken place despite this reduction.”
The premier, who did not give a break-down of the crime statistics for last year, tried to allay concerns that his administration is still not providing the RVIPF with the necessary resources to fight crime.
He further said his government provided the RVIPF with more than $600,000 over the budgeted amount last year to improve its capabilities.
“Recognizing the importance of keeping the residents safe, my government within the last year has provided financial resources in excess of $600,000 beyond the budgetary allocation for strengthening the ranks of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and for equipment. The force has therefore began recruiting more officers – experienced and new – to bring us up to the required human resource levels.”
Premier Smith stated that the RVIPF already has recruited experienced officers to – among other things – investigate cold cases.
“We are focused on BVIslanders and Belongers in our plan for the first intake of new recruits in March. We have already recruited experienced criminal investigators to complement existing staff, and they are actively involved in current serious investigations and focusing on cold case reviews,” the premier further said during his budget speech.
Premier Smith, in the meantime, promised that the police will become more visible throughout the territory.
“There will be a greater visibility of police officers throughout our communities. They will be resourced with the vehicles specifically designed for policing purposes. We will provide training existing in modern technology, and we will be engaged in the area of technical capacity building, and special funding in relation to the overall Royal Virgin Islands Police Firearms Response to enhance this in line with crime risks that are faced,” added Premier Smith.
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