23 Sep 2009

Solomons police rejects Honiara mayor's crime claims

3:24 pm on 23 September 2009

The Solomon Islands Police Commissioner has rejected suggestions that rising crime and unemployment are a threat to peace and security in the capital, Honiara.

The city's mayor, Andrew Mua, expressed the fear in an interview with the national broadcaster, SIBC.

The mayor said an influx of diverse groups from around the country was putting pressure on the city's services, which could lead to conflict and disunity.

But the Police Commissioner, Peter Marshall, says crime has dropped by 12 percent in Solomon Islands in 2009, and crime in the city is mostly petty.

"Bear in mind, this environment has no firearms so I mean it's comparatively quiet compared to an average sized city in relation to Australia and New Zealand, 50,000 people, 60,000, on some occasions in Honiara, but we've had two homicides in Honiara this year, we've had no firearm incidents in two and a half years, we've had a scattering of burglaries."

But Peter Marshall says the city does need to wrestle with the influx of people living in squatter settlements, issues between people from Guadalcanal and Malaita, a large number of young people and modest employment opportunities.