British Virgin Islands Police

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British Virgin Islands Police

Post  Les-Art on Sat 12 Sep 2009, 6:13 am

Here we have the 'St. Thomas Police' ,of the British Virgin Islands, going through revolver inspection before going on duty on in 1935.
http://i88.servimg.com/u/f88/13/98/25/75/1935_s10.jpg
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Not sure if the description is accuarte as they all appear to be wearing breast badges, which at the time was more of a U.S. item , although the uniform and collar insignias would suggest a British origin.

Any comments?

Les

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Re: British Virgin Islands Police

Post  ChrisF202 on Sat 12 Sep 2009, 11:01 am

St Thomas is actually in the US Virgin Islands and home to the territory's capitol; Charlotte Amalie as well as about half of the USVI's population of 108,000. The guns are another give away in addition to the breast badges that they are US cops. AFAIK the (British) Royal Virgin Islands Police have always been unarmed until the introduction of Armed Response Vehicles and Authorized Firearms Officers in the 1990s though I have heard that officers in the big cities such as London, Birmingham, Glasgow, etc were allowed to carry firearms at their individual discretion until the late 1930s but I am not sure if this practice also occurred in British overseas territories. Also, wouldent they have the checkerboard style hat like all UK police forces?

http://www.vipd.gov.vi/main/main.aspx
Virgin Islands Police Department (US territory)

http://www.rvipolice.com/
Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (UK overseas territory)

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Virgin Islands Police

Post  Les-Art on Sun 13 Sep 2009, 12:08 am

Hi Chris,
Thanks for this info, I hadn't bothered to check my world atlas to find out which island St.Thomas was on.

So these guys are americans, that explains the breast badge and I've just noticed that the guy fifth down the line has a wreath cap badge which is a common style then. What do you think is going on with the collar insignias, not everyone has them, some sort of rank?

The checkerboard cap band ,called 'diced band', is from Scotland , Glasgow was the first police force to use it in the 1930's. It didn't become a standard item around the U.K. until the 1970's. So in the 1930's the overseas territories of the U.K. would still be wearing caps with black bands, some were plain (part of the cap), and some were removable normally with an oak or acanthas leaf design embroidered into it. The 'Diced band' is now used around the world in various colours to represent the Police, mainly three squares high, but Chicago have a two high version and Nepal had a very nice three colour band for senior officers in the country colours.

The use of firearms by UK police in the 1930's was mainly restricted to plain clothes officers, however a firearm could be issued if it deemed that the patrol area could be exceedingly dangerous especially on night shift. In that case the revolver would be issued from the station and would not belong to the individual. However with the number of firearms floating about the UK after WW1 it was more the norm to have criminals using them than not. There are some great stories of City policemen 'borrowing' a firearm from a passing citizen to have a shoot-out with a criminal.

Best Regards,
Les

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Re: British Virgin Islands Police

Post  ChrisF202 on Sun 13 Sep 2009, 1:14 am

In regards to the collar numbers, they could perhaps indicate a station assignment ... for example in my local police department officer's will wear a gold metal number on their collar indicating which of the 7 pcts or whatever specialized unit they are assigned too. Now given the fact that the closest officer has a "19" on his collars makes this theory less likely as the USVI Police is not that big of a department (only about 450 officers as of 2006) to warrant having 19+ stations.

There are some great stories of City policemen 'borrowing' a firearm from a passing citizen to have a shoot-out with a criminal.
I recall something like this happening during the Sidney Street Siege in 1911 among their many other encounters with anarchists in that time period.

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