Crime detection will be boosted this year with the reintroduction of the K9 Unit of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the addition of a new K9 officer to Her Majesty’s Customs Department’s team of canine officers.
During a recent press conference Commissioner Michael Matthews announced intent to have a K9 team recreated this year to augment crime detection plans: “2018 will finally see the restoration of a dog capability (K9) and with local Government support the force has just procured 3 dogs (to detect explosives, drugs and general purpose),” Mr. Matthews said.
In preparation for the launch of the Unit, Commissioner Matthews disclosed that a small group of officers have been selected to be trained as dog handlers. He also opined that the long awaited launch of the K9 Unit will add to the RVIPF’s fight against the perpetrators of crimes across the territory.
Last year Her Majesty’s Customs announced intentions to get another canine officer for its K-9 Unit to assist border protection search efforts. That disclosure was made during the “A Look at the community Program” on 21 January, by Commissioner of Customs Wade Smith. However, the dog did not arrive in the BVI in 2017.
This week in an interview with The Island Sun newspaper on 7 February Commissioner Smith disclosed that the K9 officer was secured and that the Customs Department is working out the transportation logistics. He said that the new K9 officer will be in the Territory this year.
Her Majesty’s Customs was the first to establish a K9 unit in 2003, and over the years the use of K-9 dogs Havoc, Crock and Atos for the search of drugs, weapons and apprehending suspicious persons was very successful.
Similar to the RVIPF the Customs department expressed that another K9 Officer would increase detection: “To aid us in our searches because it is impossible for human officers to conduct those searches so that is why we are increasing our K9 capabilities, that should aid us a lot along with the intelligence from the community,” Commissioner Smith mentioned last year.