24 Oct 2007

TI Solomons alleges crime within police on the rise

5:14 pm on 24 October 2007

Crime is on the rise within the Solomon Islands police force, according to the country's anti-corruption watchdog.

The executive officer of Transparency Solomon Islands, Joses Tuhanuku, says the nation had high hopes when the Regional Assistance Mission arrived four years ago.

But he says hopes have been dashed.

Mr Tuhanuku says the government's opposition to RAMSI is encouraging corrupt officers in the force to return to their old ways.

He says police crime has included letting people off charges, releasing prisoners from custody, and involvement in the black market.

"Forget about talking about elimination of corruption and so on. The force is still in big big trouble. With the attitude of the present government and the new commissioner they have got, I think the force is going backward."

Earlier this week, the commander of RAMSI's police arm, Denis McDermott, said the Solomon Islands force aimed to become the best democratic police service in the world.