Commissioner of Police (COP) Mark Collins has said he has some major concerns about the honesty, business interest and the affiliation held by some of his police officers.
The recently appointed commissioner made the disclosure during his Commission of Inquiry (COI) hearing on Wednesday June 23, where he aired several of the concerns he observed since taking the role in April this year.
He said, “What I have been very keen to do since I arrived in office is to set out my stall in terms of standards and my expectations. Not going into details, I think I’ve started to do that over the last few weeks in office because I’ve got some concerns about some officers.”
“I need to be very careful with my language here because it’s a small police force but on any given day, 80 percent of my officers will come and do a very good job and support and protect the communities. But I’ve got concerns about a number of officers in terms of their honesty, the way that they carry out business interests, the way that they interact with the public and when I say the public I mean with some criminal fraternity as well,” he further explained.
9 officers interdicted and more to come
The top cop said that so far almost 10 officers have been interdicted and he expects that number to increase soon.
“I’ve got nine officers that are suspended from the force that are suspended at the moment, interdicted. Nearly all of those if not all of them will be facing court cases. There will be more to come as other investigations are ongoing at the moment,” he stated.
Professional Standards to address concerns
Commission Collins said he intends to address some of his concerns by reviewing and amending the current professional standards within the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
“So, the system I have is depending on the degree of the level of criminality. It can either go to the Professional Standards Department, my deputy chief constable/deputy commissioner – who I give the authority to be the appropriate authority under my discretion – or depending on the level of the matter I would need to go outside of the territory, potentially to another crime agency or another overseas territory to assist me in an investigation,” he explained.
The commissioner said he hopes his initiative rids the RVIPF of all of its questionable officers, to allow for a more transparent and accountable policing in the territory.