19 Nov 2003

Solomons police justifies moves against STAR division

8:33 am on 19 November 2003

The Solomon Islands police commissioner, Bill Morrell, says the elite police unit, the STAR division, had to go because of its links with militants and criminals.

The unit, the Special Tasks and Rescue Division, was set up a year ago as a tactical response unit, taking over from the Police Field Force.

The aim was to bring the field force members into more main stream policing - a goal Bill Morrell says was partly achieved.

"Quite a lot of progress had been made but the bottom line was most of the officers who have been arrest RAMSI have been here are from the STAR division. There's certainly the militant links within the police were mainly within the STAR division and we need to start a fresh and the numbers within the star division something over two hundred we just don't need"

Solomon Islands police commissioner Bill Morrell.

He says they will endeavour to recruit a replacement specialist unit of about 70 personnel early next year.