3 Dec 2007

Solomons local police force works with RAMSI counterparts to quell unrest

2:52 pm on 3 December 2007

The Solomon Islands deputy police commissioner denies that local police are ill-equipped to deal with the kind of unrest they faced during the 2006 Honiara riots.

Peter Marshall's comment comes after violence on Saturday night when a large crowd who had attended a soccer match at Lawson Tama stadium began fighting and throwing rocks while moving towards Chinatown.

That part of the capital was the scene of widespread damage during last year's April riots.

Recently, the former police commissioner Shane Castles said if rioting was to recur in Honiara, the police would be no better placed to quell the uprising.

However Mr Marshall says that when local police were out-numbered they called for assistance from their RAMSI counterparts who then helped them bring the crowd of around 500 under control.

"Five hundred is a very large number and I mean there are five hundred police officers in Honiara, but of course this is after hours and we had something like 50 to 60 police officers, enough to deal with it initially but to have any meaningful way forward it only makes sense that we make use of the RAMSI contingent here."

Peter Marshall has been in Honiara since February and says he's noticed ongoing improvements and building confidence in the local force.