The new Police Act 2019 legislation which is likely to be passed in the House of Assembly in 2020 will be aiming to address the present and future challenges faced in relation to policing crime in the British Virgin Islands.
This was revealed by Deputy Governor David Archer, Jr who told BVI News that the new legislation — which will replace the current Police Act (Cap.165) — is necessary for the advancement of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).
“In its current form, the Police Act (Cap. 165) is not fully reflective of modern police practices, contemporary human resources practices and current technological advances in the prevention and detection of crime, such as DNA testing and electronic data analysis,” the Deputy Governor stated.
“It was therefore proposed that in an effort to fulfil the mission of the RVIPF, which is to maintain the safety of the British Virgin Islands, a clear modern legislative structure was essential in an effort to deliver this vision and address the criminal challenges facing the territory now and in the future,” he added
Archer also said other changes the public can expect once the new Act comes into effect include powers and safeguards in relation to DNA samples, fingerprints and photographs, drug testing and breath testing, powers to seize electronic data and computers, and police bail provisions.
He also listed powers to detain suspects past twenty-four (24) hours and to apply for extensions in specific circumstances; clarity on the role and responsibilities of Custody Officers; restrictions for officers communicating on social media; and powers to introduce Codes of Practice for the treatment of detained persons.
The Deputy Governor said these new measures will better facilitate the RVIPF into executing their mandate to serve the people of the BVI.
The Bill to replace the current Police Act was introduced in the House of Assembly on November 14.