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Police officers join volunteers for recovery after Hurricane Irma strikes British Virgin Islands

PUBLISHED: 13:19 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:19 11 September 2017

The team from Essex Police heading to the British Virgin Islands to help with recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma. Picture: PIPPA MILLS

The team from Essex Police heading to the British Virgin Islands to help with recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma. Picture: PIPPA MILLS

Archant

A group of police officers from Essex have flown to Anguilla in the British Virgin Islands to help in recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma.

Superintendent Andy Mariner led the seven-strong group as part of a contingent of 53 officers across 14 police forces.

Yesterday, the group flew out of RAF Brize Norton to begin their work, with the volunteers due to remain in Anguilla for two weeks.

Supt Mariner said: “All of us have seen the footage on the news of the hurricane and the utter devastation it’s left behind and wanted to help.

“When the opportunity came to help out it was something we felt we had to do.

“We’re lucky enough to be in a position where we can go and hopefully make a bit of a difference.

“Policing is about helping people, often when they’re most in need and at their most vulnerable, and this situation is no different.

“I think we’re all nervously anticipating what it’s going to look like when we get there but optimistic about what we can do to help.”

The group will be helping support the efforts of local police forces and the military, with duties including family liaison support, working with UK authorities and helping find missing people.

Assistant chief constable Pippa Mills said: “I’m really proud of the team going to the British Virgin Islands to help those affected by Hurricane Irma.

“When the call came in for help, they didn’t hesitate to volunteer despite the impact being away will have on their families.

“At least two of the officers will be missing their children’s birthdays as well as other family events.

“I think this attitude and dedication to putting other people first, especially those in real need, exemplifies what is great about our officers.

“I wish them the best of luck and know their expertise and knowledge will be invaluable in supporting the local force.”

Two officers from Suffolk Constabulary and three from Norfolk are also heading out to help with recovery.

The hurricane has moved to Florida, where 100mph winds and torrential rain continues to batter the state as it moves northwards.

But the National hurricane Centre said it was displaying signs of weakening which would help it drop below hurricane intensity.

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