Some residents are of the view that officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force should not hold side jobs as private security guards.
The topic was discussed during the October 21 edition of ZBVI’ Speak Your Mind talk show. During the program various residents called to inform host Doug Wheatley that they were not supportive of the practice.
The caller who raised the issue began his complaint by enquiring what the duty of a police officer is. The caller is of the view that police officers should not serve as security officers because their full time job is to protect people’s business: ”They should be patrolling the streets not sitting down in people’s place doing security. Remember we are paying them for this service, so why are they getting double pay for this same service of protecting the supermarkets.”
“In every store a police man is there but in the streets…I don’t understand it because we are paying them to protect us. They are supposed to be patrolling the streets and through certain areas…to me they stick up in other places and not on the street. When night time comes you barely see them patrolling, barely,” he added.
Another resident called in on the same matter and criticized the fact that police officers are absent in the night, and he assumed that perhaps they are doing security jobs: “Only in Tortola alone after 6:00 clock you can’t find a police officer on the street. I wouldn’t say you can’t do a job on your time off, but as a police officer you are a police 24/7. I have seen police officers working in their uniforrn on their security guard job.”
“Some time ago one phone company was having a function and number of police officers were there, because they want to see if they would win the prize and when the function finished all of them disappeared,” the caller added.
One resident he called in on the matter said that while he does not support the idea of a police officer working a part time security job, he said he understands why they are suited for that work: “People are arguing about this security thing here, I am not a police, I personally see it as not right. A police is supposed to be a police 24/7. Whereas in a supermarket where they have security guard if a man goes in and picks up a tin of milk a security guard can’t hold him. If the police is there the police can act as a police,” he explained.
A former police officer called into the program and weighed in on the subject. He said: “What you find in the British Virgin Islands is the salaries are so small that people have to do what you call a little moonlighting; because you pay a police officer $2000, or $1,800 a month….and he has to pay mortgage with that and feed his family…he has to do something on the side.”
In his comment on the matter, host of the program Mr. Wheatley said that in certain places police officers are not allowed to work as security guards. Mr. Wheatley questioned whether as a member of the RVIPF a police officer is on call 24 hours a day, if so if it is possible for them to be security guards; and whether the task of private security shouldn’t be left to private security companies.