RAMSI assists RSIPF with election security

There will be a temporary increase in the number of personnel under the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) Participating Police Force (PPF) as the Mission assists the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to conduct major security operations around the 2014 Solomon Islands National General Election.

This is the largest operation the RSIPF will be leading since RAMSI arrived in 2003.

About 90 additional police officers from Australia, New Zealand and several Pacific Island countries including the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Tuvalu will join the RAMSI PPF. They will be working side by side with the RSIPF in election security planning and conducting high visibility operations. They will also be engaging with communities, providing mobility and logistical assistance, and tactical support if required.

The additional RAMSI PPF personnel from Australia arrived yesterday (Monday 10th November) in Honiara and personnel from New Zealand arrived today (Tuesday 11th November 2014).

Australian High Commissioner Andrew Byrne said that the deployment of additional Australian police officers to bolster RAMSI’s PPF was part of Australia’s ongoing commitment to stability in Solomon Islands.

“I’m confident that the RSIPF will maintain law and order throughout the election period”, said High Commissioner Byrne, “but securing an election is a big exercise, so Australia is happy to provide some additional police under RAMSI to help out the RSIPF at this busy time.”

“New Zealand is pleased to provide additional police personnel to support the RSIPF during the election period, continuing the assistance New Zealand has provided since the PPF was established,” said Ms Marion Crawshaw, New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands.

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Ms Justine Braithwaite said: “We are very grateful to Australia, New Zealand and our Pacific partners for making additional police officers available. This is a very good example of regional security cooperation, as police officers from around the region come together to support the people of Solomon Islands.”

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Commissioner, Mr Frank Prendergast said: “The RSIPF has worked closely with the PPF for a number of years now. With this extra PPF support and the ongoing cooperation and assistance from the Community I am confident that the RSIPF is well positioned to ensure the security of the Election. I would like to thank RAMSI for the ongoing assistance.”

RAMSI PPF Commander Greg Harrigan said: “The PPF are looking forward to working closely with the RSIPF who will lead the security operation.

“We will be providing operational support capabilities and if requested we will deploy specialist public order management resources in support of our colleagues.”

The additional officers from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific island countries will leave after the formation of a new Solomon Islands Government.

You can view more photos in our gallery here.