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Hurricane Irma 'tested me thoroughly'- CoP

- Commissioner Michael B. Matthews emphasised that officers cannot be placed everywhere
November 2nd, 2017 | Tags: Michael B. Matthews RVIPF hurricane Irma security
Members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) assisting with the clearing of roads folllowing the passage of Hurricane Irma one month ago on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO
Michael B. Matthews, Commissioner of Police emphasized that the officers have been performing several roles in security and as a result they cannot be stationed everywhere. Photo: VINO/File
Michael B. Matthews, Commissioner of Police emphasized that the officers have been performing several roles in security and as a result they cannot be stationed everywhere. Photo: VINO/File
Hurricane Irma destroyed many buildings, including the Elmore Stoutt High School. Photo: VINO
Hurricane Irma destroyed many buildings, including the Elmore Stoutt High School. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - "Not many commissioners of police can say that they were in charge of policing when the biggest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic hit a capitol and wiped out the territory and there is no training book for that. But what it did do? It tested me thoroughly. It tested my force thoroughly."

This is according to Commissioner of Police (CoP), Michael B. Matthews on Sparks Plug aired on ZBVI 780 AM on Saturday October 28, 2017. Zoe J. Walcott-McMillan, Mrs BVI 2017 was the host of the radio show.

The commissioner admitted that the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) struggled following the hurricane because "40 percent of the officers reported for duty," while adding that they were "short of officers on the ground".

Commissioner Matthews stated that their top priority was to assist the Fire and Resuce with rescuing people from their homes then protection of property.

"You know many people said to me what about all the looting that went on and we had to make some really difficult decisions and the decisions that I made was protection of life first. We had to rescue people first and then as our numbers grew and the military arrived and other police officers arrived we started to tackle the crime issues," the commissioner explained.

Visibilty of officers

Meanwhile, the host of the show questioned the commissioner about the visibilty of officers at certain locations given the curfew extension.

She said, "Visibility is an issue and I’ve been going to Bobby's, Onemart and I have not seen the level of police presence that one would expect at a time like this. So what are your thoughts on that recognising that there has been an extension of curfew?"

In response, Mr Matthews emphasised that the officers have been performing several roles in security, noting that the RVIPF received 75 officers from the UK, Cayman Islands and Bermuda to assist with security.

"Our primary function is about giving reassurance to the public and trying to be visible as possible because there is no electricity in a lot of places and of course people haven’t got roofs, doors, locks. People need to feel reassured that the police are about and we are doing a mixture of mobile patrols –static patrols- but also to enforce the curfew," explained the commissioner.

Mr Matthews pointed out that the curfew is a "sensitive issue" because you are talking about people's freedom of movement, noting that about "98 percent" of the persons are complying with the curfew.

He further stated that the persons who are caught on the road after the curfew are committing offences.

"It’s been a challenging time for everybody and police service included. Policing is a delicate art and you can never put police officers everywhere," expressed Commissioner Matthews.

8 Responses to “Hurricane Irma 'tested me thoroughly'- CoP”

  • insider (02/11/2017, 13:06) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    He is doing a good job so far but he got some more cleaning up to do
  • DON Q (02/11/2017, 14:20) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    We all were tested
  • Sip (02/11/2017, 14:53) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    The commissioner is doing a good job.He is really working to protect the people of these islands. What he needs though is a good hardworking deputy like himself. The morale of the force seems to be coming back.
  • Ha Ha (02/11/2017, 16:15) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply

    They say bvi open for tourists yet we have a curfew .... hmm..... I have a vid with $u*er c*p looting if he try to give me a ticket I will show him it :D

    • Impossible (03/11/2017, 05:37) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      Not Sup.C..p not He, not mr straight and narrow Nd your just being vicious I can bet my bottom dollar it’s not him, stop trying to score points on in this case likes when you know it ain’t so!
    • Group Chat (03/11/2017, 09:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Put that thing on the group chat, everyone need to see it...
    • Ms wize (04/11/2017, 06:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      If you have a video of a cop looting, turn it in. No one is above the law. I'm sure he will be dealt with. I love this Cop.. He's a man of integrity. Keep up the good works officers your works will not go unnoticed

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