With just one year before the departure of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) in June 2017, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) is very confident it will be able to assume full responsibility for policing in the country after RAMSI leaves.
RSIPF Commissioner, Frank Prendergast expressed his confidence in the abilities of the RSIPF while speaking on the RAMSI-coordinated Talking Truth radio program for this month on the national broadcaster SIBC about the roll-out of the RSIPF’s new Crime Prevention Strategy.
“The reason I am very confident is that the RSIPF has been effectively policing the Solomon Islands with very little operational support from RAMSI for the last two years. I always point to the operations around the 2014 National Elections as a very concrete sign of what the RSIPF can do,” said Commissioner Prendergast.
“There’s been enormous development of the RSIPF over the life of RAMSI. We owe RAMSI a lot for the efforts that have been put into the RSIPF. When I look at the RSIPF today it is a very different police force from the one that was here when RAMSI intervened.”
“We have good people, we have good training, we have good infrastructure, we have a lot of mobility assets. When I compare ourselves with other police forces in the Pacific region, we are very well off in those areas.”
“We are now at the stage in our development that we are providing training to other police forces. We’ve had RSIPF officers in Vanuatu training the Vanuatu Police Force. We’ve had police officers from Vanuatu and Nauru coming to Solomon Islands to be trained by RSIPF instructors. We have interest by other Pacific Islands police for assistance and we have a contingent of RSIPF officers waiting to be deployed to the United Nations and the RSIPF has sent its patrol boats to assist in Vanuatu. Also in November RSIPF will become a member of Interpol,” he said.
RSIPF Commissioner Prendergast emphasised: “All these are achievements in themselves, but what they do is paint a picture of a police force that is ready to take its place as the single police force in the country once again.”
“I don’t say we are perfect. We still have work to do to improve, but a lot of the issues we are working on are issues that all police forces in the region are working on. We still working on the culture in the RSIPF, weeding out the people who don’t have the values that are aligned to RSIPF values,” he added
Mr Prendergast strongly believes that with the roll out of the Crime Prevention Strategy, the implementation of the Cost of Policing Study, the implementation of the five year Capability Plan and the Force’s commitment to improving its services all the time, the RSIPF is well on its way to becoming the best police force in the region.
The 15-nation RAMSI mission will conclude in 12 months on 30 June 2017.