21 Jan 2005

RAMSI dismisses criticism over community policing

8:23 am on 21 January 2005

The acting special co-ordinator of the Regional Assistance to Solomon Islands has dismissed criticism that the operation has given up on community policing.

Peter Noble says claims by Terry Brown, the Church of Melanesia's Bishop of Malaita, that RAMSI is too detached from local people are untrue.

Mr Noble says community policing is central to RAMSI's work, and that it has improved over the eighteen months the operation has been in the country.

He says it takes time to foster a working relationship between a community and the police.

"And we shouldn't forget that the communities had a huge distrust of the Solomon Islands police force prior to RAMSI's approval. So there is still ongoing work in terms of the community and the police force working together. But overall I think we are making good progress. And it is certainly not true that RAMSI is placing a priority on anything other than community policing."