Acknowledging a large lack of public trust towards his officers, newly-appointed Police Commissioner, Mark Collins has temporarily launched a personal hotline for any member of the public to contact him with information.
Commissioner Collins announced the hotline and challenged residents to use it on Tuesday during his first press conference since taking office.
“I’ve only been in this territory for a little over a month. I have no allegiances or bonds with anyone. There is nothing to fear with me … My number is 368-7937. It is a phone that only I will have access to and I will answer. This challenge is for exactly one month starting today, the 25th of May,” Collins said.
Not only can the hotline be used to share information on serious crime such as current unsolved murders in the BVI, but it was also created so residents can inform the top cop about any corrupt officers within the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).
Collins pledged that any allegations brought to him will be investigated.
Review of RVIPF’s Professional Standards Department
In accepting that some persons within the RVIPF engage in wrongdoing, Commissioner Collins said he plans to sanction an assessment of the police’s Professional Standards Department.
This department deals with all allegations against police officers.
“I will be looking to review the whole Professional Standards Department that we’ve got within the organisation in terms of the number of staff that we’ve got and the complaints that we’ve got. So, be rest assured that I take professional standards very seriously and I will hold officers accountable under the code of conduct,” the new top cop stated.
‘No wholesale investigation of the Force’
And while answering questions as to whether an investigation would be conducted into the entire RVIPF, Collins suggested that such a probe would be imprudent and counterproductive.
“I’m not going to commission a wholesale investigation into the whole of the police force … If I’ve got allegations of wrongdoing and issues are brought to my attention, then I will deal with them robustly against the code of conduct for professionalism of the police service,” he said.
A number of RVIPF officers are currently suspended as they are facing criminal proceedings at the local courts.
Ordinarily, persons who may have information of interest to the RVIPF can contact the Major Crime Team at 284-368-5682 or the head of that team, Inspector Vernon Larocque, at 284-368-9809.
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