Efforts to strengthen the Territory’s surveillance system are progressing, and Commissioner of Police (COP), Michael Matthews told members of the House of Assembly that there are ongoing discussions regarding obtaining the CCTV cameras and the process and procedures that are in place with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in order to purchase the equipment.
Commissioner Matthews explained to legislators that CCTV is a critical crime-fighting tool for the RVIPF and he could list many occasions in the past where the cameras were used to convict persons of serious crimes.
The Commissioner explained that the RVIPF is rebuilding their CCTV capabilities through a project that is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, but admitted that the process has been far too slow.
For more than five years, the Territory has been pushing the implementation of a Territory-wide surveillance infrastructure. Many efforts to further this surveillance installation were made over the years.
The most recent was done in December 2018 when the Government signed a contract with Consultant, Russell Jones, for the installation of CCTV cameras Territory-wide in the amount of $140,000. The contract was described as a sign of Government’s commitment to improving security across the Territory.
It was noted that the preliminary works were done by the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) to determine key areas for setting up CCTV cameras, in addition to those that were destroyed or lost from the hurricanes.
It was explained that the new CCTV infrastructure will be constructed while keeping in mind the vulnerabilities of the Territory to prevent future loss of significant infrastructure.
The objective of the contract was for the development of technical specifications and undertake procurement and contract administration for the acquisition of CCTV infrastructure network. The scope of work also included the implementation and administration services essential for the guaranteed development of a CCTV Surveillance System that adequately meets the functional requirements of the RVIPF.
The surveillance system will be installed according to international standards in areas such as expansion, security and also be able to reasonably withstand the impact of natural hazards that affect the British Virgin Islands.
The improved CCTV system is expected to increase public safety by effectively monitoring human activity in the Territory and exercise crowd control.
The operation of the system is expected to reduce the fear of crime, the upsurge in criminal activities, entry of wanted criminals into the Territory, traffic violations, burglaries, deterring the commission of a crime, aiding the investigation conducted by the police in the event that a crime is committed, and for bringing perpetrators to justice.