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'Police officers are homeless too'- Police Commissioner Matthews

- Michael Matthews denies there is a mass exodus of police officers leaving the force after Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma left the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) headquarters in Road Town looking like it was shelled. Photo: VINO
The West End Police station also suffered damages to its roof following the passage of Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
The West End Police station also suffered damages to its roof following the passage of Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
A second batch of 54 United Kingdom officers have been sworn in as temporary members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF). Photo: RVIPF
A second batch of 54 United Kingdom officers have been sworn in as temporary members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF). Photo: RVIPF
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Police Commissioner Michael Matthews told a local radio station on September 28, 2017 that many of his police officers are homeless as they lost their houses following Hurricane Irma.

The top cop, who many said currently has more power than the elected Premier as the Virgin Islands is under a State of Emergency after the passage of the Category 5 Irma that destroyed the Territory, said many officers and their families had to seek shelter at many of the police stations despite the buildings being damaged too.

No mass exodus- CoP

In addition, he dismissed reports that there was a mass exodus of police officers leaving the force to return home after the two major hurricanes. The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) is made up of well over 75% expatriates, including UK officers.

He said while many officers were given time to sort out their personal situation some 90% of all officers are back on the job and he is about to restructure the force to meet the current situation post Irma and Maria.

"I want officers to get from behind desks and be on the streets, that is what we need now..." Mr Matthews, a UK national, told Zan Lewis of ZBVI 780 AM.

Under fire

The RVIPF came come under fire immediately after Hurricane Irma with many business owners claiming that the force could have done more to reduce looting. In addition, there are reports that some police officers were seen participating in looting, however, those persons have yet to bring forward the evidence.

Under the State of Emergency there are British soldiers and police on island, along with hundreds of additional officers from other Caribbean islands including Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, which was the first to send police officers as reinforcements following Hurricane Irma.

More UK Officers

Meanwhile, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Michael Matthews welcomed and swore in a second set of UK officers on Thursday September 28, 2017 as the first set ended its three-week tour of duty in the Virgin Islands on Wednesday of this week.

Among the 54 officers are four commanders and 50 public order officers.

The Commissioner, in a press release today, September 29, 2017, noted his delight with the support and assistance received from the chief constables from forces all across the UK which makes up this latest deployment.

"We continue to enjoy the support of the UK, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the Bermuda Police Service. I want to thank these territories for their valuable support at this critical time of our recovery. The role of these officers are essentially to provide security or reassurance patrols."

13 Responses to ‚Äú'Police officers are homeless too'- Police Commissioner Matthews‚ÄĚ

  • eye witness (29/09/2017, 16:13) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    yes they were looting and he knows it
  • wize up (29/09/2017, 17:02) Like (2) Dislike (7) Reply
    members of his organization were looting as well: let's all see how those U.K. Officers interact with this population: should be question who will foot the bill for the U.K. Police, will it come from that almost 2 million dollars(its simply a question).......enquiring minds wants to know
  • whatever (29/09/2017, 18:44) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Who cares
  • pat (29/09/2017, 18:47) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    So to save face he made a few arrests Smh
  • Online Now (30/09/2017, 04:54) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    Didn't take long for the bloggers to get back to their negative and childish posts. You are all that is wrong with this place.
  • The TRUTH (30/09/2017, 06:30) Like (1) Dislike (21) Reply
    There is no need for 54 new police from the U.K. Something is fishy here and the people of the B.V.I need to look out, the way I see it they want to take over Tola something just is not right. Tola people need to start taking action and stop sit down and watch these people take over their country. Be Smart People and read through the lines.
    • wize up (30/09/2017, 11:56) Like (3) Dislike (8) Reply
      @ the truth: I personally thank them for their service due to the current adverse conditions however what is the alteria movtive; where these folks hail from(the U.K. Police) people of color don't have much value: who vex vex but the facts are out there
  • Faith Hope Charity (01/10/2017, 10:20) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Following the passing of Irma I witnessed the spirit of our people clearing the roads and trying to restore normality. Following my arrival in Road, I was saddened and scared at the sights I saw. The police did well in my opinion to hold it together until reinforcements arrived and with policing numbers now increased to a level that should be sustained, I feel safer than ever. Does it matter where people are from who are trying to help our people. We are going to need a lot more workers to come in from outside the territory with the skills to restore our island and without them, the truth is that tourists will stop bringing their dollars and poverty will spread. From my contacts, I know there are many people who seek to help us, so lets stop this foolish racism, retain our faith, hope that help does come and be charitable to those that are helping us.
  • Arthur Butcher (01/10/2017, 16:07) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Very sad that people express such negative opinions when others, including UK police, are doing their best to help. Ulterior motives???? Shame on you! A drowning man should accept help with grace - not indignation that help has been offered. Stop looking for other agendas and get real. This is a temporary situation. If we don't want help from the UK we should vote for independence and manage on our own. Wouldn't that be fun?

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