BVI News

Police need power to hold suspects longer than a day

Police Commissioner Michael Matthews said he is looking forward to proposed amendments to the Police Act that would allow the police to detain suspects for a longer time, even if they are not charged with an offence.

Holding suspects for longer would give crime fighters more time to gather evidence that can link suspects to crimes.

However as the law stands now, the police can only detain suspects for 24 hours without a charge. If they don’t have enough evidence to charge the suspect after a day, the person has to be released.

Commissioner Matthews said this law is hindering the crime-fighting efforts of the police.

“In 24 hours, you’ve either got to find sufficient evidence or let the person go. We’re an island community so once you let a person go, you have no control over them, they can leave the territory very quickly. So I’m keen to see modernised legislation,” Commissioner Matthews explained.

The controversial Police Act drew a public outcry recently when the legislation tried to give the police more powers.

Among the changes was a proposal to give police officers immunity while acting under a warrant.

Some elected leaders called for public consultations to be held before giving law enforcers such extensive powers.

With the recent rise in crimes, the government re-introduced the Police Act in the House Of Assembly. It has already had its First Reading and will go through the public consultation process before it is agreed on.

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11 Comments

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  1. agree says:

    I totally agree. In some order small islands they let you out after 24 hrs but they have law enforcement on the outside to bring you right back in for another 24 hrs.

    Like 6
    Dislike 4
  2. yup says:

    but we are the BVI – one love.

    We release belongers who steal, hurt and murder our fellow citizens. They are exempt. Don’t change the status quo.

    Like 10
    Dislike 3
  3. Hmmmm says:

    This is a VERY slippery slope as he seems to be only thinking on cases where a persons is most likely guilty but what about where innocent people are picked up? You want to be able to hold people for 3-4 days with no charge? The Police need to do their f**king work and stop making excuses.

    Like 21
    Dislike 5
  4. Riddle me this says:

    why they cant just do their work properly.

    Like 8
    Dislike 3
  5. Lucy says:

    Police need a helicopter service it seems.

  6. PT9 says:

    It seems like the police is looking at every angle to make their jobs easier.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  7. Instead says:

    Rather than just extending the time they can hold you… create a process that only if certain conditions are met they can extend the time on a situational basis. Because the time limit there for a reason.

  8. Streets says:

    Commissioner yo mad or wa? Ayo just less

    Like 2
    Dislike 3
  9. Well says:

    Doesn’t immunity under a warrant means they can do anything and get away with it? Harm people, steal drugs, etc

  10. Sherman says:

    bvi police are mediocre at best

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