He said this is being done to maintain the integrity and accountability of the institution.
Commissioner Matthews made the statement following the recent landmark quarter-billion cocaine bust that led to the arrest of one of his officers. He explained that the measure is part of the RVIPF’s future plans which will further ensure that all investigations are conducted appropriately.
“I have already included within a proposed strategic plan going forward for the Force that needs to be agreed with the National Security Council, that in fact we go further and we bring in expertise for what I call Professional Standards Capability which is your internal investigations capability, and then we increase that,” Matthews stated at a recent press conference to announce the bust.
He added: “The public has to know that when they make a complaint to our police, if they have suspicions about the actions of a police officer, that those complaints and those suspicions are going to be taken seriously. And I for one is going to make sure that when allegations are made, they are investigated properly.”
The top cop assured residents that the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) will continue to put measures in place to maintain the trust of the public in the local law enforcement.
He said: “There have been previous occasions where the integrity of the RVIPF has been called into account. What I can reassure the public is that we take every single one of those allegations seriously as can be seen … on previous occasions when RVIPF officers have found themselves facing court to determine cases.”
“We are not unique in that regard. The police services around the world face this challenge on how do you manage to keep officers honest, maintain integrity and ensure competence to the public. Well, part of that is surely to demonstrate that we do have internal procedures that are robust and working effectively to root out corruption,” Matthews explained.
In sharing similar sentiments, Governor August Jaspert added that the successful operation of the drug bust is evident that the force’s integrity remains solidly intact.
He said: “I know the vast vast majority [of police officers] as we have seen today, as we have seen this weekend (at the time the of the bust) are professional, are dedicated and are committed to serving the public and keeping them safe. So whilst it’s not a record that we would have wanted to have on our watch, to have the biggest recorded seizure of cocaine, it is a record that is also a record of success.”
“… Success to those officers who did it, success to the integrity of the police that are able to do a difficult operation, keep it secure, and manage to get the seizure and success that the public should feel confident to come forward to report to the police to report concerns if they have as well,” he further stated.
On the other hand, the governor also said this major drug incident is proof that pockets of corruption exist in the territory.