30 Sep 2002

Former Malaitan Eagle Force member says whole police force needs restructuring

4:00 pm on 30 September 2002

In Solomon Islands, Andrew Nori, the former spokesman for the rebel militant group, the Malaitan Eagle Force, says a multi dimensional approach needs to taken to solving the problems in the police force.

In the past fortnight there has been support and opposition to Britain's offer to provide a police commissioner to replace the retiring Morton Sireheti.

Senior police have come out against the proposal, but the British High Commissioner, Bryan Baldwin, says there is widespread support for it from the public and the police rank and file.

Andrew Nori says is not just a question of who leads the police force, but the government needs to address its entire structure.

"The problem we are facing here is that we only concentrate and focus on who should be the commissioner of police, whether an expatriate or local, then we forget the inherent problems that are affecting the police performance at the moment. We need to look at the entire system then after that we can start looking at who should be the commissioner of police."

Andrew Nori says the emphasis should be on the men on the beat.

He says they need to be looked after financially, and that only well educated people with good records, respect for law and order and national unity, be selected as officers.