UK police officers to provide support to British Virgin Islands force

Updated: 

British police officers will be deployed as part of the country's efforts to step up support to the Caribbean islands left devastated by Hurricane Irma, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) has said.

Following criticism of its response to the disaster, the Government announced a £32 million aid package spearheaded by the military.

Almost 300 military personnel have left the UK as part of Operation Ruman, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

The NPCC announced that British police officers will provide support to the British Virgin Islands force as part of the relief effort.

It said two members of the UK police cadre, who support the military in times of international crisis, flew out on Friday, while a further 53 British officers from 14 police forces are due to leave from RAF Brize Norton in co-operation with the MoD.

The officers will support the local police force to maintain law and order, as well as helping to find missing people, including British nationals, the NPCC explained.

UK AID relief packages
(Cpl Timothy Jones RLC/MoD Crown Copyright/PA)

The organisation's lead for international policing, Chief Constable Andy Marsh, said: "We received offers of support from officers across the country as soon as this crisis began.

"These officers, and the many others who volunteered, signify our commitment to help those in need and humanitarian instinct of the British police force, no matter where in the world."

More than 200 Royal Marines, along with engineers, specialists, medical supplies, and aid, including emergency shelter kits, rations and clean water, have been flown out to the region.

Support from the RN and #RFA has been gratefully received by the islanders on Tortola #irma#globalbritain@foreignofficepic.twitter.com/4DjvXv9dlU

-- Royal Navy (@RoyalNavy) September 9, 2017

RFA Mounts Bay's crew is also providing support to the British Virgin Islands, conducting reconnaissance flights and delivering supplies and aid, while HMS Ocean is due to take equipment and aid supplies from Gibraltar to the Caribbean on Monday.