21 Dec 2004

Solomons turns down Australia offer of new police commissioner

8:38 pm on 21 December 2004

The Solomon Islands government has rejected an Australian offer that it provide the new police commissioner.

The current commissioner, Bill Morrell of Britain, is paid for by the European Union, but his contract expires at the end of this month.

Canberra is ready to pay for a replacement, but the Solomon Islands government has turned down the Australian offer, saying it will take back the funding responsiblity.

The Police Minister, Michael Maina, says whoever is selected must be a person able to help rebuild the force.

He says Commissioner Morrell will stay on until the end of March to allow for the position to advertised locally and overseas.

Mr Maina says there are potential Solomon Islands candidates.

"Well, there are people who have had a legal background, a police background and so forth, and if any of them have the right credentials, we will pick them."