“Just because you don’t see us doing it, doesn’t mean we are not,” says Police Commissioner Michael Matthews who has the unenviable task of leading a police force now scrambling to solve the gun crimes sweeping across the island of Tortola.
The commissioner was referring to local law enforcers carrying out search operations that lead to the capture of perpetrators committing these crimes.
He made the statement amid concerns from anxious residents desperate to know how investigations are progressing.
Matthews said while regular updates from police are not forthcoming; detectives are making ‘good progress’ in a number of key investigations.
He did not specify.
“I can virtually reveal nothing about any of our present findings without undermining and even jeopardizing the ongoing work of my detectives. In fact, I have been warned about just that – not saying too much. The least said the better chances of us not only arresting perpetrators but arresting them with tight and sealed cases.”
“I will be the first to say that patience is not one of my virtues. I am keen to see offenders brought to justice as quickly as possible,” he added.
However, the top cop said only a small amount of residents who have information about crimes have come forward so far. He said this makes solving crimes more challenging for police.
“It will take longer and my detectives will have to work harder to identify and gather the evidence necessary to arrest these criminals, especially in the aftermath of last year’s destructive events that have left the territory vulnerable,” Matthews explained.
Within the last several days, there has been a double homicide and several reported shootings; some resulting in injuries.
Curfew doesn’t stop crime
Since then, there have been calls for authorities to take more aggressive measures to curtail crime.
Just recently, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie lobbied for more stop-search operations as one such measure.
Others have suggested that authorities consider reimplementing a curfew in the British Virgin Islands.
But, the commissioner said no curfew can prevent serious crime.
“I know that the vast majority of our citizens are good and law-abiding. That is why I personally do not feel a curfew or the overuse of standard stop-search operations would be effective or a valuable use of our limited resource — targeted, intelligence-led searches are, and that is exactly what we will continue to do,” Commissioner Matthews said.
The commissioner expressed similar sentiments following a previous double-murder involving a man and an 11-year-old girl some three months ago.
They were shot and killed in West End minutes before the curfew that was implemented in the BVI at the time.
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