SALFORD police officers will be deployed along with troops across Britain this week as part of the country’s second efforts to support those left in devastation by Hurricane Irma and Maria in the Caribbean Islands.
PC Lee Ashcroft, from Manchester Pendleton Police Station, is one of the team of five PCs and one sergeant who have been chosen as part of the Northern UK regional team to assist and support the Caribbean Island under UK territory that has been left devastated by Hurricane Maria and Irma.
“We will be the second wave of UK officers to attend the island and anticipate to be on the island for three to four weeks,” said PC Ashcroft. “A number of us from across the North West; 17 in total, have been selected at very short notice based on previous experience within the military and level of police training due to the very difficult circumstances in which we’ll be working.”
It is incumbent for those being deployed to fully comply with the requirements, to declare all their medical history, ongoing complaints, post exposure encounters and health issues to manage their physical and mental health.
“The first wave of officers who have been deployed to the BVI and Anguilla have endured some incredibly testing conditions.
“They have been accommodated in a hotel that was badly damaged during Hurricane Irma with intermittent power, a limited water supply for washing and toilet flushing and limited ability to heat food.
“They have lived off 24-hour army rations packs and bottled water,” PC Ashcroft explained.
The first wave of officers even had to endure Hurricane Maria, which followed Irma whilst being on the island.
“This meant they had to barricade and reinforcing their accommodation to ensure it was strong enough to protect them during the storm,” PC Ashcroft added.
All the officers have worked long hours and despite the conditions improving, the working and living conditions are far below the standards they are used to which isn’t likely to change any time soon.
“Throughout my deployment, the conditions are likely to remain the same with little access to facilities many of us take for granted in the UK,” said PC Ashcroft.
Whilst on the British Virgin Islands, Ashcroft’s team will be deployed as Special Constables.
“While on the BVI, my team will be sworn in as Special Constables within the BVI Police and will be working with the Islands Police Force and military to restore order to the prison, the safeguarding of essential supplies, prevent looting and assisting in bringing a new level of normality to the island whilst most importantly, providing reassurance to the islands 35,000 residents,” described PC Ashcroft.
PC Ashcroft is proud to be making a difference by offering to be deployed: “I think I’m right in saying that all the officers who will be going on this deployment, joined the Police to make a difference,” said PC Ashcroft. “The British Virgin Islands are a UK territory and it’s only right that we extend our support and expertise to begin the Island’s path to recovery.”