The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force swore in 15 new recruits on Aug. 16. They’ve now begun a six-month-long training programme. (Photo: PROVIDED)

Fifteen new police constables were sworn in to the Royal Virgin Police Force on Aug. 16, commencing a six-month training programme that began three days later, police announced.

The group of eight men and seven women make up the fourth cohort to be trained in the VI, the release stated.

Both Police Commissioner Michael Matthews and Deputy Commissioner Alwin James welcomed the group.

Mr. Matthews stressed that their biggest challenge wouldn’t be the six months of training they receive, but enforcing the law in a population where “everyone knows everyone.”

Mr. James added that discipline is important because the recruits “will be tempted in many ways.”

“There will be persons in the community who will befriend them for the wrong reasons,” he said. “Some will be expecting a favour because they may have helped them before, and they should be very careful of that.”

The increase of police officers in the force will in turn increase police visibility in the community, Mr. Matthews stated.

“Your colleagues out there working day and night to provide that policing service get greater support because there are greater numbers,” he said.

The call for recruits went out in April for recruits between the ages of 18 and 30 with a high school diploma. The 2019 intake is part of a Cabinet-approved increase in the number of officers over the next three years.

Mr. Matthews said the force is “not just looking for young indigenous men and women to fill these posts, but the sharpest and brightest among them.”

In December, 17 police recruits were sworn in. Their training ended with a ceremony in June, where the youngest police recruit won eight awards for his performance.