The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force has taken control of policing in the Shortland Islands, Western Province, following the withdrawal of RAMSI Participating Police Force from the Lofung Police Post.
“The withdrawal of the PPF from Lofung last week followed several consultation meetings between the Solomon Islands Government, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, RAMSI and the chiefs and communities of the Shortland Islands,” says RAMSI Acting Special Coordinator, Wayne Higgins.
“The consultations included a meeting last November and again in February this year with chiefs and communities in the Shortlands and in Honiara with the Paramount Chief of the Shortland Islands, Sir George Lepping and Secretary of the Famoa Trust Board, Mr Edward Kingmele in March,” said Mr Higgins.
In a show of appreciation for allowing the PPF Police Post to be located on traditional owned land, RAMSI last week officially handed over the buildings and infrastructure built and used by the PPF at the Lofung Police Post to the Famoa Trust Board. The properties were officially received by Sir George Lepping on behalf of the Board.
The Lofung Police Post is the eleventh post that PPF has withdrawn from in the past two years. This is part of RAMSI’s transition which has meant that PPF has moved away from every day frontline policing to a mentoring and support role. RAMSI Police currently retain advisers at Gizo and Auki and also provide mentoring and logistical support to Police Commanders in the Provinces.
Under current planning, undertaken in close consultation with the Solomon Islands government, RAMSI’s transition consists of three elements. The Participating Police Force will remain in Solomon Islands until 2017 and will continue to assist the RSIPF to develop its capacity as a professional Police Force. The PPF has already provided substantial training, mentoring, logistical and operational support to the RSIPF. The PPF has also invested heavily in the RSIPF’s infrastructure and equipment such as police housing, boats, vehicles and radios. This type of support is expected to continue through to 2017.
As RAMSI’s Combined Task Force (The Military Contingent) will have no operational role after 30 June this year and all troops will leave Solomon Islands from the middle of the year.
All RAMSI development programmes will move across from the Mission to be taken over by bilateral and other donors within Solomon Islands.