Solomons police chief says officers need to keep public's trust

8:45 pm on 9 May 2017

The Solomon Islands' police commissioner says his newly rearmed officers needs to maintain the trust placed in them by the people of Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands Police officers at the official limited-rearmament ceremony marking the first time in 14 years that RSIPF officers gave been allowed to carry guns.

Solomon Islands Police officers at the official limited-rearmament ceremony marking the first time in 14 years that RSIPF officers gave been allowed to carry guns. Photo: Solomon Islands Police Media

Police in Solomon Islands were officially rearmed on Monday after almost 14 years without guns.

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force was stripped of all its firearms in 2003 when the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands arrived following years of bloody ethnic conflict.

RSIPF officers raise the bible in their right hands as they re-affirm their oath of allegiance in preparation for rearmament.

RSIPF officers raise the bible in their right hands as they re-affirm their oath of allegiance in preparation for rearmament. Photo: Solomon Islands Police Media

This action was taken because the force had been compromised during the unrest, with some members of the police siding with militants.

This week 125 police officers were authorised to bear arms and they are from specialised units such as the tactical response team, those providing security for the prime minister and visiting dignitaries and officers manning the police post at the country's international airport.

The main types of firearms with which specialised units within the Solomon Islands Police Force will be equipped include the standard police issue sidearms, tear gas launchers and shotguns.

The main types of firearms with which specialised units within the Solomon Islands Police Force will be equipped include the standard police issue sidearms, tear gas launchers and shotguns. Photo: Solomon Islands Police Media

Solomon Islands police commissioner Matthew Varley said the limited-rearmament marks an important milestone in the history of the RSIPF but he says the work has just begun.

"We are conscious that the eyes of people of Solomon Islands are on us and the trust of Solomon Islands people is on us. We haven't forgotten the 'Tension Period' and what went on here only 14 years ago. We haven't forgotten that but we have moved forward. And as I have said to the officers today we can't forget the past but we now look to the future," Matthew Varley said.

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