18 Jan 2012

Solomons police need more law and order training, says RAMSI

2:28 pm on 18 January 2012

RAMSI's special co-ordinator, Nicholas Coppel, says Solomon Islands police need more training when it comes to dealing with riots and other civil unrest.

The comment follows an announcement by the Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, that the police will eventually be re-armed.

That comment was described by a former prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, as a signal to the international community that the force has become professional and can be trusted with guns.

Mr Coppel says rearming police is a decision for the government but RAMSI is working on building up the force's public order management capability.

"Their ability to deal with outbreaks of civil disturbance, you know, riots and crowds getting out of control. They performed very well towards the end of last year but we think there's a little bit further training that needs to take place and we need to see that happen and be comfortable with the results before we make a decision."

Nicholas Coppel says RAMSI is also helping to strengthen a number of other areas of weakness in the force, including finance and logistics.