A fresh contingent of Royal Cayman Islands Police officers headed to the British Virgin Islands Monday morning, replacing the 16 officers who have been in the stricken eastern Caribbean territory for the past three weeks.

The new group of officers will be performing essentially the same security-related duties, backing up the BVI police force which is slowly recouping numbers since Hurricane Irma hit in early September.

“The communities on BVI are at the beginning of a difficult process of reconstruction on their devastated islands, and they need our continued support as they gather the resources required for the task before them,” said Police Commissioner Derek Byrne. “We committed to providing policing reinforcements for approximately ten weeks, and we are extremely proud of the superb job our officers have been doing in rugged conditions.

“I am certain that the second contingent of officers will continue to carry out policing duties at the same high standard that their colleagues have set, which reflects on the professionalism of the RCIPS.”

Mr. Byrne was expected to be on hand Monday night to welcome the returning group of Cayman officers from the BVI.

“We are glad to be welcoming them back home safe at the conclusion of a job very well done,” Mr. Byrne said.

The majority of the BVI police force did not “desert” in Irma’s aftermath, according to Cayman governor’s office chief of staff Matthew Forbes, and many have now come back to the service. In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, Mr. Forbes said, many of the officers chose to stay home and protect their families.

Mr. Forbes told the Cayman Compass that the security situation in BVI is slowly improving, but more support from the British military and sister territories will be needed in the coming weeks.

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