Police fly to aid of storm-hit British Virgin Islands

The aircraft on which the officers flew from RAF Brize Norton. Picture: Sussex Police
The aircraft on which the officers flew from RAF Brize Norton. Picture: Sussex Police

Nine police officers from the Surrey and Sussex forces flew out to the British Virgin Islands on Sunday.

They have gone to assist the local police for an initial period of two weeks.

They are amongst a contingent of officers from a total of 14 forces across the UK, said Sussex Police.

The officers comprise one superintendent from the joint Surrey and Sussex Operations Command, one sergeant from Sussex, and seven constables, as requested by the National Police Co-ordination Centre (NPoCC).

Following official requests made through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, NPoCC worked with government partners and the Ministry of Defence to arrange this deployment, said Sussex Police.

Officers will be embedded directly with the local military HQ and will support the local force in maintaining law, order and policing services.

They can also assist in locating missing persons, including British nationals, liaise with UK authorities and assist with family liaison.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry, Head of the Surrey and Sussex Police Operations Command said: “We are glad to be able to provide this support as part of the UK response to what is a major international humanitarian crisis.”

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne praised the swift deployment of British police officers to the devastated islands.

“Hurricane Irma has created chaos and misery for the islanders and they want to be able to rebuild their shattered communities without the added fear of opportunistic crime,” she said.

“I am proud that the presence of the nine Surrey and Sussex police officers will play a key role in restoring public confidence, maintaining public order and supporting the clean up operation.”

All costs will be paid for by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the deployment of the officers does not affect the ability of the Surrey and Sussex forces to continue to provide a full policing service in both counties, said Sussex Police.

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