23 Jan 2007

Solomons' Opposition says police should remain unarmed

8:38 pm on 23 January 2007

The Solomon Islands parliamentary opposition has slammed the government's plan to re-arm the local police force.

The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare has been pushing for the paramilitary wing of the local police to be revived.

This comes after an arrangement for firearms training in Taipei for Mr Sogovare's Close Protection Unit has been quashed by the Taiwanese government.

Opposition leader Fred Fono says it is unfair to spend taxpayers' money on the security of a handful of politicians.

He says it's premature to arm the police force as the memory of officers taking sides in the recent ethnic crisis remains fresh in peoples' minds.

Mr Fono says the back-up security provided by armed Regional Assistance Mission police officers to the Royal Solomon Islands Police force is adequate for the Prime Ministers and VIPs for the time being.