BVI News

Premier promises to reintroduce controversial Police Act

Premier Andrew Fahie has promised to make another attempt at passing the controversial Police Act which drew intense public criticism and failed to pass in the House of Assembly last year.

Among the changes that drew public outcry 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.

Speaking at a recent public meeting in his constituency, Premier Fahie said this time, he will be sure to hold public consultations to hear the public’s view on the piece of legislation.

“The Police Act is going to be brought back to the House of Assembly and I assure the public that after the first reading there will be extensive public consultation so that you the people can tell us what is your input on this legislation,” Premier Fahie said.

The proposed Police Act

The new Police Act was being touted as one which would help with crime-fighting in the territory.

It seeks to replace the current three-decade-old Police Act (Cap 165).

Last year, Opposition legislator Julian Fraser expressed several concerns, stating that there were too many ambiguities that will need to be addressed in the proposed legislation.

Such examples include clauses 22 and 185 of the Act. The first states that police officers are not personally liable for acts done under a warrant, while the latter clause provides immunity for police officers acting under the authority of a warrant.

Police state

Fraser also said some clauses in the Act would make the BVI “a police state”.

In addition to these changes, the Act proposed to rename the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Service.

The bill was debated but never received the required number of votes to be passed in the House of Assembly.

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  1. Hmmmm says:

    The proposed police Act is full of things that will seriously impede liberties. I know that you are trying to get on the new governor and chief of police side to save yourself but think about the country and the people for once in your life and not about yourself as you always do. That Act needs revision. You or someone very close to you might well be a casualty of that Act if you don’t fix it.

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  2. WHAT? says:

    give officers immunity while acting under a warrant????? That is INSANE. Name ONE country other than North Korea and Iran that supports a clause like that.

    We need politicians that care enough to pay attention.

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  3. Lodger says:

    Judging by recent events police officers should not be given any sort of immunity.

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  4. Eyes Wide Open says:

    Only a c*****t leader would want to give officers immunity when more and more corrupt officers are being exposed…think about it …some of these same officers join the force to get on the inside to hide their corrupt movements.

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  5. How about being able to write a ticket!? says:

    If you want to reform the police, how about letting them write a ticket for on-the-water violations??? This Magistrate process is so backwards. There were two (2) water fatalities in two weeks last season and they still have not fined or disiplined the captains involved. These guys ran over swimmers with their boats and killed them and there was not even a ticket for going to fast.
    We need real reform here. There are too many people doing crime and no consequences. This is simple stuff. You cops can’t even ticket motor bikes that have not been registered.
    Stop this nonsense about police immunity and lets get some law and order that applies to EVERYONE.

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