While lamenting years of insufficient funding for the local constabulary, Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews has called on other police units from the United Kingdom and the region to retrain members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).
Matthews said the ‘refresher’ training is to ensure that RVIPF officers can independently police in post-hurricane conditions when the additional security forces leave the BVI.
The top cop said more than 40 RVIPF officers have received retraining already.
“Basically we are trying to get as many trained as we can… Because of the extra responsibilities that we now face as a result of post-Irma and Maria, its probably needed,” Matthews told BVI News.
“We have to be ready to be able to respond to the needs of the communities in a much broader way than we have previously. But also it would be fair to say that the Force had not been funded sufficiently to able to do all the training that I would say was needed over the last couple of years. So this has definitely been an opportunity to use the skillsets of other officers visiting the territory, and exploit those to assist us.”
Commissioner Matthews said local cops are being retrained in public order tactics, traffic policing, and firearms training for the RVIPF Task Force which is an elite group of officers permitted to carry guns.
“For our specialist officers who carry firearms in the course of their duty; it is an absolute essential part of their role that they maintain that skillset because it is a huge responsibility. And, of course, legally I can’t give officers the authority to carry a firearm unless I’m satisfied that they are safe to do so and can use that firearm accurately and only in circumstances that would require it. So, that training is essential to the Force,” the top cop said.
The sharpening of local police skillsets started ahead of a chilling double-homicide in which an 11-year-old girl and man were gunned down.
Police investigations into those murders are ongoing.
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