As serious crimes such as murder happen in the territory, the public almost always becomes eager for immediate answers from the local police.
But the Royal Virgin Islands Virgin Police Force (RVIPF) often cannot provide these answers because of the protracted period it takes to test forensic evidence lifted from local crime scenes.
According to Police Commissioner Michael Matthews, the BVI has to send evidence for testing to the continental United States. But it can take up to two months for the results to return.
“We can’t process DNA locally here. We have to send that away. It is a six to eight-week turn-around to the United States. So there are delays in being able to give out information more publicly,” the commissioner explained.
Matthews made that statement while responding to questions about the unclassified/unexplained deaths the RVIPF reported over the last few months.
Threadfall resident Rodney Simmonds was one of the persons whose death the police had categorised as unclassified. Only recently — nearly two months after his murder — has Commissioner Matthews indicated that his death appears to be a homicide.
“Suffice to say, we are not a hundred per cent satisfied that every death recently is going to end up being categorised as ‘homicide’. To achieve that judgement, we’re having to do some painstaking work. For example, we’ve got to check to see if somebody was actually present in a scene. We’ve got to see if fingerprints or DNA, was present in a scene,” the top cop said at a recent joint press conference with National Security Council members Premier Andrew Fahie and Governor John Rankin.
Adding Simmonds to the count, the BVI has recorded at least four murders since the start of 2021.
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