In a Government Information Services release, it was announced that the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the marine section of the Joint Task Force are set to benefit from expertise from United Kingdom (UK) Marine Police to bolster ongoing work by the Government of the Virgin Islands to secure the Territory’s borders.
The Governor, with the support of the National Security Council, is pleased to announce that six UK Marine Police Officers will join the ranks of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) initially for a two month period, starting in early 2021.
The specialist team will provide training and mentoring in marine policing and enforcement, including advanced boat handling and interdiction skills. This will help build long-term specialist capability in the RVIPF with the Joint Task Force and the Territorial Support Action Group (TSAG). The Joint Task Force and H. Lavity Stoutt Community College will also be asked to explore a Train the Trainers Programme with the UK seconded team.
The costs of the deployment and the salaries of the UK officers will be met by the UK Government. The UK officers will follow all health protocols on entering the BVI to ensure there is no risk and the Government of the Virgin Islands
will meet the costs of any quarantine.
The UK Marine Police will also learn from the experiences of the Joint Task Force, who have shown over recent months their impressive success and determination in policing the Territory’s vast borders.
His Excellency the Governor said, “This secondment will be invaluable for both UK and BVI law enforcement officers. For BVI, it will enhance local capability in marine policing and interdiction, developing the skills of our local officers and the resilience of our law enforcement institutions. It aims to leave a lasting legacy of stronger local capability. For the UK officers, it will be an opportunity to learn from officers in BVI about the unique challenges we face and our cross-agency collaboration. I am grateful to the UK for this support at this critical time.”
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew Fahie
said, “As a Territory we welcome the capacity building of our law enforcement agencies in marine training and mentoring. I have asked the Chairman of the Joint Task Force Mr. Wade Smith to ensure that the officers capitalise on the technical expertise and to ensure that the knowledge gleaned from this practical exchange is cascaded across all law enforcement agencies as we continue to prepare the Territory for the future in this New Regular.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police Alwin James shared his appreciation for the advanced interdiction training and support that the UK officers will provide in these times of unprecedented challenges to border security. “We are happy to have the additional hands and extra skills to keep our borders secure and residents safe. I look forward to the mentorship and transfer of skills,” he said.
These UK secondments will improve security for the people of the Territory, building on previous support by the UK Government to help protect and secure the integrity of BVI’s sea borders. Most recently, this included the deployment of HMS Medway to BVI territorial waters. The UK has also invested significant funds to support the RVIPF, including $1 million in police infrastructure to help build back better following the 2017 Hurricanes and more than $700,000 in training and other support since 2018.