The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) is struggling to serve court summonses to people who are charged with breaches of the law.
According to Inspector Dervent Murray, the police is facing an inadequacy with regards to gathering specific information of those being called to answer for crimes committed.
Murray, who is attached to the Police Prosecution Unit of the RVIPF, said some of the information on the summons lack specificity. This includes the lack of specific home addresses for persons in question.
“Some of the issues are the lack of information in order to gear ourselves directly to a particular person or a particular place and that makes finding who we’re looking for, kind of challenging. I mean, a lot of persons are known by their alias names. As such, when you will go and try for X — somebody with the correct name — a lot of people don’t even know who is that because more people go by the aliases” Inspector Murray said in an interview with BVI News on Tuesday.
“So, that is also one of the difficulties that we face; inadequate information. And then sometimes some people would have left the territory before the court did something and some might not be coming back and others may be coming back. You know, there’s a lot of logistical difficulties here,” he added.
Inspector Murray said the best way to combat this issue is for his officers to gather specific information from people who are reported for a crime and wanted by the court. He also said the police force faces manpower problems which means it does not have sufficient staff to effectively carry out this function.
The police inspector, said the lack of evidence on whether a summons have been issued to the correct person can result in the case being dismissed by the court or the prosecution can ask for the case to be thrown out.
“If the court believes that it is on the list too long, and the court wants to take a certain course of action by dismissing the matter, the court can do so. The prosecution can also either ask the court for an extension to continue or find the person. If not, then we have to ask the court to probably dismiss it,” he said.
Over the past several weeks, the Magistrate’s Court has had to adjourn cases because there was no evidence that summons were served for a person of interest.
This has led Magistrate Khadeen Palmer to question the effectiveness of the police force in identifying and serving people called before the court to answer for crimes.
Inspector Murray said the police force usually relies on the person identifying themselves or from law enforcement’s general recollection of the person.
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