29 Jan 2003

New police commissioner arrives in Solomon Islands

11:26 am on 29 January 2003

The new commissioner of police for Solomon Islands arrives in the country this afternoon.

Acting commissioner, John Homelo, says he will welcome British policeman, William Morrell, who was formerly the deputy chief constable in Manchester, responsible for 700 staff.

There was some initial resistance within the force to the appointment of an external candidate but Mr Homelo says that's changed.

"Maybe it's good for us to have some independent people outside to come and help us out maybe some people got some different thinking on this one but to me I think it's the right time"

Mr Morrell will be sworn in to his post by the governor-general on Thursday and there will then be an official police parade.

The new Commissioner told a news conference on his arrival in Honiara that he would do the best he could to restore stability to the country, defend human rights and build a professional police force.

The European Union is funding eighty per cent of Mr Morrell's two year contract with the rest coming from Britain and other aid donors.