As 2019 comes to a close, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) is reporting a reduction in overall crime and an increase in crime detection this year.
Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews gave that indication when he appeared before the Standing Finance Committee recently.
“They (the RVIPF) set a target to detect 50 percent of crimes this year. At the end of October, it was at 54 percent and, at the same time, they had seen a five percent reduction in overall crime which was on the back of a nine percent reduction in the previous year,” Commissioner Matthews explained.
He also revealed that the RVIPF is on track to increase its overall staff size by 2021 since Cabinet under the NDP Administration agreed in 2017 to increase the force by 15 constables annually for three years.
“We are on target to do that and await an additional $1,133,000 to be added to the budget for 15 growth posts in 2020, which will then bring the force number/statistics to 275 regular officers and 21 auxiliary officers,” the Police Commissioner said.
New Equipment to be bought
The top cop further revealed that with a budget of $18,587,800 for the year 2020, the force will be procuring new equipment to bolster local policing.
The equipment includes 50 protective vests for $22,430 and an unspecified amount of body-worn cameras which will cost $100,680. The cost of the body cameras will be a split cost with funding from the United Kingdom.
The investment of the body-worn cameras by the RVIPF comes as a result of a successful pilot project which was conducted in March 2019, for a three-month duration.
It was promised that once the project was successful, police would wear the body cameras permanently while on duty.