The Police Act 2023 is set to make a return to the House of Assembly during the ongoing sitting to update the dated legislation with new measures for handling DNA sampling.
Deputy Premier Kye Rymer made the announcement during a recent airing of the Virgin Islands Party radio programme Let’s Talk.
The bill was later confirmed in the Order Paper for Thursday, March 9, 2023 in the section of Public Business, where the bill is scheduled to undergo a first, second and third reading.
While acknowledging that the previous contents of the bill was controversial and needed to be reexamined, Rymer said the DNA aspect of the bill is needed to assist law enforcement in the crime fighting measures.
Rymer noted that since 2018 the territory had a dozen murders and believes that the updated legislation to facilitate the collection of DNA sampling will increase the probability of solving such crimes.
As recent as early February, Premier Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley noted following the postponement of the bill that it was his government’s intention to pass the Police Act 2023 in the future, but not without dramatic changes to the contents of the bill.
At the time he said the postponement of debates on the bill will allow for “more time to consult, discuss and prepare the necessary amendments to be considered by the House of Assembly and the public.”