30 Oct 2002

New Zealand police group starting work in Solomons tomorrow

6:28 pm on 30 October 2002

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff says sending a team of ten police to Solomon Islands is the best way that New Zealand can help restore law and order and indirectly help the economy to recover.

The team begins a three year long project to try and rebuild the confidence and skills of the local police on Thursday.

Mr Goff says the New Zealand officers will act as mentors and provide on the job training to frontline police.

He agrees this will put them close to the action, but he says the Solomons police will make the arrests and take any action, with the New Zealanders adopting a shadowing role.

"W hat the New Zealand police force will be doing is using their experience and their skills to provide advice and provide monitoring. I think the indirect benefit will also be the boost in confidence that it will give to Solomon Islanders."

Mr Goff says if the level of risk became unacceptable, the Government would consider pulling the team out.

The New Zealand police project will complement the work of Australia and Britain.

Australia has been providing police advisors for some years, while Britain is offering to send a new police chief.