The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force has implemented several precautionary measures to safeguard police officers from contracting COVID-19 while in the line of duty.
These include a temporary measure in which members of the public must refrain from physically going to any local police station.
The public, instead, is asked to dial 311 to file a police report or 911 for an emergency. They must also alert the dispatcher if anyone within their residence is being quarantined or isolated for COVID-19, or if they are displaying any symptoms of the virus.
To further protect officers, when responding to a report, they will meet individuals outside of their homes or place of business and may ask a series of health-related questions which must be answered.
Measures taken during traffic stops
The RVIPF also outlined measures which will be applied during traffic stops on public roadways.
Officers will now be communicating to motorists at a safe distance during traffic stops, and persons are asked not to exit their vehicles unless asked to do so by an officer.
Additionally, officers will be taking photographs of licenses and identification cards during stops to limit contact with motorists while gathering information.
Equipment and Training for Officers
As for other measures, Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews told BVI News in a recent over-the-phone interview that “all front-line officers have been given personal protection equipment including gloves, sanitizers and masks and the Ministry of Health held special workshops for officers to be briefed on the risks, myths and realities of COVID-19”.
He also said that despite the long hours endured by police officers during the pandemic, which could have an impact on their morale, they continue to execute their jobs to the best of their ability.
“My observations are that they remain focused, motivated and committed to keep the territory safe and to enforce the necessary curfew requirements,” Matthews said.