Mariners and other members of the public can now use a new portal to anonymously report suspicious activity in and around the territory’s borders and shorelines, police announced last Thursday.
As part of “Operation Island Watch,” police are distributing brochures that include a QR code that can be scanned with a smart phone to quickly access the service.
“We are fortunate to have a number of persons within the marine industry who are passionate about protecting our waters from predators who engage in illegal fishing, illegal smuggling or trafficking, illegal dumping, or any other unlawful use of the territorial waters or shorelines,” said Inspector Lesroy Simmons, head of the Marine Branch. “By giving no more than a few details, law enforcement is provided with the information needed to respond quickly and apprehend potential suspects.”
Funding for the initiative was provided by the Marine Association of the BVI, the police said. Supporters at the launch included Chief Inspector Louis Buckley and Phil Aspinall, operations manager for Virgin Islands Search and Rescue.
“I see this being a win-win for all concerned,” Mr. Aspinall said. “The BVI is considered the sailing capital of the world, and we must help to protect this destination at all costs. I think I speak for many within the boating community when I say that I am happy to be part of this initiative and any such initiative that promotes safety and security in our waters.”
Police also released a dinghy safety brochure, which includes information on maintaining a safe speed, wearing a kill cord and a lifejacket, and practising safe loading, police said. Boaters can collect the free brochures at the Police Marine Base or at the VISAR office at Road Reef.
Mr. Simmons can also be reached directly at 368-9462. Anyone with knowledge of any suspicious activity on land or sea can also continue to call the anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline 800-8477, the police added.