Governor Gus Jaspert handed over the keys to two new armed response vehicles last Thursday to acting Inspector Dean Robin, the head of the police armed response unit. Police Commissioner Michael Matthews also attended the brief ceremony. (Photo: PROVIDED)

Two armed response vehicles, which will transport officers of the “newly trained and enhanced” armed response unit, have officially been delivered to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

On Thursday, Governor Gus Jaspert handed over the keys to the vehicles to the acting inspector and head of the unit, Dean Robin, according to a government press release.

The vehicles were donated by the United Kingdom government as part of $1.7 million-worth of funding made available to improve the territory’s security efforts after Hurricane Irma.

In late January, Police Commissioner Michael Matthews outlined various other initiatives that the funding would be used for.

A portion will go towards training in tactical and firearm response for officers, training of firearms commanders, and building materials for damaged police stations, Mr. Matthews said in a press conference.

“I have to say that I am hugely happy that at least some of the monies for restoring our estates have been made available now through the UK funding and that we don’t have to wait for local government to do all that must be done,” the commissioner said.

The Thursday press release added, “The United Kingdom is in the process of making additional funds available to provide further specialist training to ultimately increase the force’s specialist armed capability to four times its original size with a total of 36 officers. The skills of present ARV officers will also be enhanced to respond to scenes where perpetrators are believed to be carrying deadly weapons.”

Last week, Mr. Jaspert emphasised the partnership between the UK and the VI.

“These armed response vehicles are just part of the security plan that we have in the territory,” he said. “We are improving and supporting the police and the partnership between the United Kingdom and the British Virgin Islands.”