Solomons Police confident of rearming
The Solomon Islands Police Force says it is making good progess in its efforts to rearm special units in the organisation.
The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force says it is making good progress in its efforts to prepare for its possible rearmament.
Its Police Commissioner Frank Prendergast says phase one of the limited rearmament process is well underway and he says he is optimistic of getting the approval from government for phase two, the actual rearmament.
Mr Prendergast told Koroi Hawkins preparations for rearmament are important with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands coming up for review in 2017.
FRANK PRENDERGAST: The team has been meeting with communities, community leaders, provincial governments discussing the concept of rearmament and then teasing out with the communities what their concerns are and hopefully addressing those. So along with the community engagement we are going through a process of getting the police force ready and that looks at things like training, governance, infrastructure. All the things that you would think that we need to do, asset control . Part of that process we are developing the standard operating procedures and the governance that is required for the police force to be rearmed. And we are also building the infrastructure to support that rearmament including enhancing our armoury and you know those types of infrastructure projects. But importantly we are also looking at the culture of the police force.
KOROI HAWKINS: If you are expending a lot of investment in phase one and say the government decides not to rearm all that money would go down the drain right?
FP: No I dont think so because really this project is about improving the culture of the Police Force and having that conversation with the community. I am confident however that we will be in a position to rearm at some stage and you need to think forward to the possibility of RAMSI finishing its mandate and the current funding envelope I think exists to the middle of 2017. What will happen then if there is no armed police in the Solomon Islands? At the moment that service is provided by the, provided by RAMSI. So it is important in that context that the RSIPF is ready to move into that gap and it is important that we work hard to make that happen.
KH: And it is limited rearmament as I understand so there is only some units that are going to be rearmed?
FP: That is right it is a very limited rearmament. At the moment we are looking at rearming the police response team, the close personal protection team, which provides security for the Prime Minister the Governor General and visiting dignitaries and the airport police. So it is very limited rearmament, you are talking well under I think a hundred officers if you count all those officers up and the type of weapons that are being considered are very much standard police weapons they are not military style weapons at all.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: