Solomons police chief to bring in new leadership
The new Solomon Islands police commissioner says the force needs new leadership.
The new police commissioner of the Solomon Islands says the force needs new leadership and he will be advertising positions soon.
Two senior executives, Walter Kola and Nela Mosese, have recently resigned, and Frank Prendergast says it's time for fresh blood.
He also says police are remaining vigilant in the lead up to the election.
Frank Prendergast spoke to Alex Perrottet at the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Conference in Auckland.
FRANK PRENDERGAST: "Clearly there's some issues around leadership that need to be addressed and we're addressing those, not just at the senior level but leadership from all levels of the RSIPF.
ALEX PERROTTET: There's a couple of executives that resigned just recently. Is that part of restructuring and moving people along?
FP: Well it certainly gives us an opportunity to build for the future and that's what we're really focused on at the moment. We had some very senior officers leave after very long contributions to the RSIPF but we've got to now build for the future and one of my key objectives early on is to get a solid executive in place that can give the RSIPF the leadership that it needs and deserves."
AP: And are you going to draw from lower ranks, or how are you going to fill those positions?
FP: Some we are using selection processes that have already been conducted so we're in a good position in moving quickly to fill those vacancies. But we're advertising for promotions at almost all levels now so we're looking at Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Superintendent, Chief Superintendent and inspector levels. Those processes are underway and will be advertised shortly and then we're going to be advertising in the very near future for non-commissioned officer level positions as well so there'll be a general renewal of the leadership in the RSIPF. I think it's fair to say that we've been operating with a lot of people in acting positions for quite some time and I think it's important for the future of the police force that we settle that down and get people in roles they can own.
AP: One who's been acting a long time is Ms Matanga, what's the future there? Is she going to have that job permanently or what's her role?
FP: She did a very good job as acting commissioner and she's been an enormous support to me since I've come into the role so I can't speak highly enough about her. I expect she'll be in the deputy commissioner's role for the foreseeable future.
AP: And then any concerns around the election? What are the police plans leading up to November?
FP: The police have been planning for the election for quite some time so we've got a very detailed plan. It involves providing security for the election and providing security for the polling booths and the ballot boxes and it will be a major effort involving all the RSIPF with a lot of support from the participating police force as well as other areas of the Solomon Islands government. Clearly the history of election in the Solomon Islands in recent times shows that we can't be complacent but we believe we're as well prepared as we can be and while there may be issues we'll be prepared to deal with those issues.
AP: And you're confirming that you're not concerned about any particular group that's aiming to disrupt plans?
FP: No, indeed we're really looking to work with the community so if there is information about people who have intentions around the elections we'd be very pleased to hear that and I'd urge anyone who's got that information to come forward but we're not sort of focused on any particular group.
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