Solomons police to rearm in 2017

8:27 pm on 5 December 2016

The Solomon Islands prime minister says police could be rearmed as early as January.

RSIPF PRT  members demonstrating live firing certification at the Tenaru Firing Range

RSIPF PRT members demonstrating live firing certification at the Tenaru Firing Range Photo: RAMSI Public Affairs

This comes after a meeting between Manasseh Sogavare and the heads of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, or RAMSI, last week.

RAMSI's special co-ordinator, Quinton Devlin, said it was important to start rearming special units before RAMSI leaves the country next June.

Mr Devlin said this would ensure local police could make the most of RAMSI's expertise and resources.

There has been mixed reaction to the prospect of rearming, as the force's weapons fell into militant hands during the ethnic crisis of more than a decade ago.

Mr Sogavare was also briefed on the challenges posed by the fact there were still guns in the communities despite a ban imposed in 2003.

RAMSI's deputy special co-ordinator Alex Cameron suggested another gun amnesty before RAMSI left Solomon Islands.

"Solomon Islands has achieved the phenomenal record as the country with the lowest gun crime rate in the world," said Mr Cameron in a statement, adding that "there is still room for improvement should there be another gun amnesty period before June 2017."

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