Officers head to British Virgin Islands to help relief effort Date published: 24th October 2017 9.14am

Two officers from Cheshire Constabulary flew out to the British Virgin Islands last week (Friday, 20 October) to help with the relief effort following Hurricane Irma.

PC Julie Bennett and PC Collette McGowan have been deployed for a period of around four weeks to help people recover from the devastating impact of the hurricane, which struck the biggest of the islands, Tortola, on 9 September.

The officers are travelling with colleagues from across the North West and flew out to the islands from the military base RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

PC Bennett and PC McGowan are part of the North West region team travelling out which includes officers from GMP, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria.

PC McGowan said: “I only found out on Monday last week that I’ll be going so it has been a quick turnaround. I’m really excited to have this opportunity and think it will be a great experience.

“We are not yet sure where we will be based or what we will be doing day to day but we are looking forward to helping local people with the relief effort.”

PC Bennett added: “It’s a unique experience and a fantastic opportunity to help people who really need support following the hurricane.

“We are expecting to stay for a minimum of three weeks and I think we will be staying in disused hotels and camping areas.”

Acting Chief Constable Janette McCormick said: “We are humbled to be able to offer the services of our officers to support those who have had their lives devastated by Hurricane Irma.

“We have heard from other police forces who have already been to the British Virgin Islands that there is a lot of rebuilding work to be done, and we want to help as much as we can towards those efforts.

“I wish PC McGowan and PC Bennett, along with the other officers travelling to the islands, all the best for their deployment. “