Sustainability the biggest challenge for Solomons police
Solomon Islands' new police commissioner shares his vision for the police force.
The new Solomon Islands police commissioner says sustainability and community partnerships will be the biggest challenges for the police force under his leadership.
Frank Prendergast was sworn in as commissioner on Friday, filling a year long vacancy.
He spoke to Koroi Hawkins.
FRANK PRENDERGAST: What I would like the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to be and to become, is a confident, competent police force, that's responsive to its community and that is trusted by its community. I would like it to become a police force that's founded on a sustainable footing, that can work with partners, but is strong enough to stand by itself.
KOROI HAWKINS: Any thoughts on how you intend on achieving this, at the moment?
FP: Yes there are. Clearly when you look at any police force sustainability is a big issue, so there is a lot of work to be done in relation to the, back of house functions of the RSIPF. Including things like human resource management, financial management, logistics, which is particularly an issue in the Solomons as you know, with over 990 islands. So there is a lot of work to be done on those issues and that work needs to be started. Its continuing work that has been going on for the past few years. More important than that though, I think is more intangible issues. Focus on discipline, focus on accountability, focus on operational competence and excellence and you know really, key in delivering those outcomes, which are all key to delivering community support and trust, is leadership. And so one of my big focuses over the next two years will be on the leadership, at all levels in the RSIPF. Particularly, obviously, the senior leadership. But leadership at all levels.
KH: What are some of the immediate challenges, or some of the long term challenges that you foresee, at this stage?
FP: I think I should make the point that I do believe the RSIPF has got some real strengths, which will help meet the challenges. We also have just got a new Police Act and regulations which are first class and are the basis for moving forward. But there are challenges as you say and I think the immediate challenge for the RSIPF will be doing its part to deliver a peaceful and orderly election in the next few months, whenever it is called. Internally we have the challenges of getting our back of house functions right. Improving our discipline and accountability, getting a real focus on our ability to operate efficiently, really continue to enhance our ability to work with the community. Become responsive to the community, be accountable to the community and I think that's a real challenge, in finding ways to do that, that work, that give the mechanism for a two way dialogue with the community on issues. Important issues such as limited rearmament. Longer term inside the RSIPF is being ready for the transition as we see RAMSI transitioning, perhaps PPF support, particularly in-line support, finishing within the next two years. We need to really focus on those longer term issues of long term sustainability.
KH: Any final thoughts as you start your first week in office?
FP: I am really honoured to have been selected for the position I see it as a great responsibility and I intend to work very hard for the people of the Solomon Islands to ensure that I repay that trust and I really do look forward to getting out and getting to know the Solomon Islands a lot better and you know, working with the rest of the men and women in the RSIPF, to deliver a good service to the community.
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