“It is indeed my hope that during my tenure we become a service, meaning that we would then become the RVIPS instead of a force. We are truly a service, we serve the community,” Mr Collins said during his remarks at the New Life Baptist Church (NLBC) Power Plus Conference on Sunday, October 9, 2022.
Among those in the congregation were Governor John J. Rankin, CMG, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), Deputy Governor David D. Archer Jr, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Jacqueline E. Vanterpool and other officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) who attended the church as part of Police Week.
The theme for the celebrations this week is “Making the right changes for the right reasons.”
According to Collins, “And with 36 years of policing my philosophy is doing basic things brilliantly, getting things done right first time every time.”
He said that while the month of October is packed with many other symbolic activities, “This is a month when we as a territory stand in unison against domestic violence, a month for mental health awareness, among other significant social and medical maladies.
“But chief among the highlights for them is the celebration of the 55 years of the RVIPF as an independent body after severing ties with the Leeward Islands Police Force in 1967.”
In noting that the force has grown as a body of over 250 strong, Collins said, “When I look to the Premier and say that we have room to grow more. We got room to grow in human services, public service and other areas of police and we are aiming to get that just right.”
It was just about a week ago that Collins swore in thirty-two new recruits. Most were also present at the church service.
He said, “While serving, protecting and reassuring we found it necessary to take the time out this week to celebrate us, to bond to appreciate each other, to lift a little morale and we are making the momentous occasion with a weeklong celebration and we are doing it right here as we open with your church service here today.”
The RVIPF has struggled to gain public confidence over the years and recent scandals affecting the Force, including human smuggling, police officers arrested in drug busts, police using its vessels to do bar hopping and the recent controversial ‘Police in Paradise’ video, have not helped its reputation.
Some believe the RVIPF, which is the responsibility of the Governor, should not have escaped the Commission of Inquiry (CoI). Some also believe CoP Collins should have been sent on leave during the investigation of the Police in Paradise video, which many believe sought to portray the VI wrongfully as a crime-infested and unsafe destination.
It remains to be seen whether the name change, if achieved, will make a difference to the RVIPF’s reputation.