Commissioner of Police Mr. Mark Collins intends to introduce a business interest register within the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF), expressing concerns about officers having secondary jobs as security officers.
“I intend to carry out a complete review of the force. Implement a performance management regime of holding people to account," the Commissioner told the ongoing Commission of Inquiry
on Wednesday, June 23.
"I am in the process of reviewing policies and procedures. Which include sickness management, retention and promotion. I am extremely concerned that officers are allowed to have secondary jobs that, in my view, are not compatible to working as a police officer. Mainly this is centered around working as a security officer or operating your own security business. I intend to introduce a business interest register as part of the Professional Standards review to address this,” Collins stated.
The Commissioner also revealed several mechanisms that he intends to roll out to improve the image and improve confidentiality in the RVIPF, such as introducing an internal hotline to report officers whose track record has been below par.
Collins said this is a mechanism within all United Kingdom Police Departments, which is “to have a hotline available to report what we usually call the bad apples, and I would like to introduce that in the force."
He added, “I got a number of officers come speak to me with concerns, I’ve got many members of the public stop me in the streets talking about concerns, the confidentiality and a complaint that they might make that was dealt with by the RVIPF.”
The initiative is dubbed ‘Make the Right Call’ and aims to encourage serving members of the RVIPF to report misconduct and matters of confidentially.
It also forms part of the Professional Standards Department (PSD) review as there have been a number of high-profile alleged corruption cases involving officers from the RVIPF and also other officials.
The Commissioner also referred to the hotline that he launched during his first press conference, stating that it has yielded results.
“I have had a number of calls on that number; people want to speak to me directly. There is a big concern about confidentiality and satisfaction in the public of the Virgin Islands
, and it’s going to be a huge task for me during my tenure to turn around.”
In the meantime, the top cop informed that there are some officers who have no regard for the organization’s code of ethics.
“I think some get it, some understand it, and I need to be very careful how I phrase this: I got a lot of very good officers that are out there working over and aboard every day and doing some fantastic work, and of course there are some officers I don’t think they pay attention to any code of ethics, any code of conduct at all and those are the people that I need remove out of the organization,” he said.
Other initiatives include a more thorough vetting process and implementing a department that is capable of investigating reports.
Commissioner Collins explained in his position statement that the current system of recruiting does not delve deep or far enough into the background checks of potential candidates for the RVIPF.
“At present, there are no social media or financial checks made and limited checks are made in relation to previous employer and criminal records. It is my view that I would need to recruit a vetting/recruitment officer to deal with this matter,” he stated.