14 Sep 2004

RAMSI issues a warning for Solomons criminals at large that they are in no position to bargain

8:31 pm on 14 September 2004

The head of the intervention police force in Solomon Islands is warning of a stalemate between her officers and any criminals still at large.

A self-described fugitive on North Malaita has told state radio that he won't turn himself in unless police first arrest the 'big fish'.

The unnamed outlaw argues that the Regional Assistance Mission, or RAMSI, and Solomon Islands police have gleaned plenty of information from former militants in their custody.

He says police have enough information to warrant the arrests of other people who had held leadership roles during the ethnic unrest and who are still at large.

The deputy police commissioner Sandy Peisley says she's familiar with the stance taken by people who say they'll surrender if someone else does.

Ms Peisley says it was prevalent during the recent gun amnesty:

"All that actually does, when one says one will not hand oneself in until somebody else is arrested, only creates a stalemate. But obviously I would encourage anybody, particularly those who say they are fugitives themselves from the law, you know, I would encourage them to surrender themselves, and go through the normal justice process."

Sandy Peisley says investigations are continuing, police won't make any bargains, and will move to seize suspects when firsthand witness accounts compel them to do so.