Police Commissioner Mark Collins has noted a serious manpower problem within the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) and said this problem has been exacerbated by COVID-19.
However, the top cop recently noted in his new year’s address that the Force will focus on improving and developing its human resource in the upcoming year.
The Commissioner said retirement, resignation, and interdiction of its officers also have their net effects and places a strain on every department within the RVIPF which already struggles with a shortage of staff.
“In this regard, we are advocating and supporting for the governor and the government to augment our numbers with direct local training, transferring of recruitments and targeted special recruitments to fill the vacant spaces we’ve got within the organisation,” Commissioner Collins said.
“I am grateful for all the support that we are getting from the financial services and the Financial Secretary and his department in ensuring we are able to do this. This should help to bolster our numbers and lift the strain on those departments that are already overwhelmed,” the top cop added.
In relation to interdictions, Collins said several officers have been interdicted in 2021 with some of them being charged for crimes such as breach of trust. He noted the allegations surrounding these officers have brought about unneeded and unwarranted damage to the reputation of the RVIPF among community members.
“It is, however, important that we appreciate that the facility of interdiction is not punitive. But is necessary to ensure that we are balanced, that we prevent interference in the investigations in any way, and at the same time, we also protect the reputation of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force. I set about setting the standards I expect on officers and staff working for the RVIPF and I maintain that those standards are met daily in the organisation,” Collins continued.
Meanwhile, Collins acknowledged that COVID-19 has made it difficult for the police force to carry out its function and it will require them to keep as many ‘hands-on decks’ as possible.
The top cop said he has a great team of officers, and he is confident they will be able to continue serving the public as they did in the old year.
“My focus for the coming is to revisit those most recent outstanding murders of the last two years, to expand my K-9 and marine units, to support and provide additional resources to the Historical Cases Review Team and continue the development of staff on the islands of the territory,” Collins said.
“I am delighted to say already last year, we have successfully run one criminal investigation course, and we are about to embark on another criminal investigation courses, financial investigation courses, senior officers’ investigation courses, and marine handling investigation courses for marine units with body one cameras,” he further said.
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