Kiribati has been an important contributor to RAMSI, with officers from the Kiribati Police Force serving as part of the RAMSI Participating Police Force since July 2003. Connecting with people on a grass-roots level is part and parcel of the work for these Kiribati police officers.
Connecting with people on a grass-roots level was part and parcel of the work of i-Kiribati police officer, Euta Taokai.
Reaching out to people with open arms and connecting with them is significantly important to win the hearts and the minds of the people, and this approach is reflected in the way Euta Taokai, of Kiribati, approach to his work as part of RAMSI.
For Euta, connecting with people on a grass-roots level is not new to him, as it’s part and parcel of his community policing experiences back in his hometown of Eita, in Tarawa.
Having served with the Kiribati Police Service for 16 years, where he is based in the nation’s police headquarters and is in charge of northern districts policing, Euta brought a strong background of policing experience with him to the RAMSI Participating Police Force’s Community Relations team.
“The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Community Relations program has been the platform built by RAMSI and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to work closely with the people of Solomon Islands.
“This close knit team is made up of RAMSI Participating Police Force members from around the Pacific together with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. Their specific task is to reach out to people and give the communities a chance to meet with police on their own grounds for discussions how the police and the community can better work together to provide peace and stability in the Solomon Islands,” he says.
Euta says he is able to communicate well with his Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and Pacific Islands colleagues, fits in well with the Solomon Islands locals and is comfortably able to discuss the role of RAMSI and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.
“I feel as if I was at one of the usual gatherings back home. The settings are similar and they listen cautiously to the police in our Community Relations team. The audiences also respond well with questions which we are able to respond to.
“Community Relations is a chance for men and women from different islands, settlements, churches and backgrounds to meet police officers who are working on issues that are helping the country move forward,” he said.
For Euta, working alongside with his RAMSI Participating Police Force and Solomon Islands Police counterparts, reaching out to people and informing the communities about the Participating Police Force and Royal Solomon Islands Police Force’s role is wonderful experience.
“Sharing my experiences with my counterparts in both the Participating Police Force and Solomon Islands Police, and the communities at large, is a rare opportunity and I am enjoying every bit of the moment,” he said.
Euta said it was important to communicate to the Solomon Islands community that they had nothing to fear from the police and RAMSI, and would work together to help resolve problems.
“It is important to emphasise that RAMSI is a partnership with the government and people of Solomon Islands and that police look forward to continuing to work closely with the community to ensure improved lives in a peaceful environment,” he said.