The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) has taken another important step forward with the opening of seventeen new houses for RSIPF officers and their families in Temotu Province.
The new houses are part of a major infrastructure project funded, through RAMSI, by the Australian and New Zealand Governments, which currently has a further 84 houses for RSIPF officers under construction throughout Solomon Islands.
The new houses will provide good quality, secure accommodation for RSIPF officers and their immediate families in Temotu Province, and are expected to play a key role in ensuring the RSIPF can meet policing needs in the province, as well as helping to attract candidates to the RSIPF as it continues to grow.
Solomon Islands Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Honourable Clay Forau Soalaoi, said the new houses in Lata would play a vital role in strengthening the RSIPF, both in Temotu Province and beyond.
“With these new houses, all police officers posted in Lata will now be properly accommodated with their families.”
RAMSI Special Coordinator, Nicholas Coppel, said the construction of the new houses meant that the RSIPF will soon be able to post officers from across the country to Temotu Province.
“Being able to post officers from across the country to work here in Lata will also help to prevent something that had contributed to the negative reputation of the Force in the past: officers in provincial areas who face the significant challenge of properly policing their own wantok.”
The RAMSI Special Coordinator added that RAMSI’s presence at these posts would continue to reduce over the course of the coming years, following a comprehensive review of the 13 provincial police posts that are supported by RAMSI officers.
“Over the next two years, we will be gradually withdrawing RAMSI personnel from many of the 13 police posts currently supported by RAMSI personnel to allow the RSIPF to further take the lead,” he said.
“The time is now right for the RSIPF to step up and take the lead. This process – this transition – is naturally a long-term process, and is about providing greater space for the RSIPF to step up.
In opening the new houses, Minister Forau said the support from the Australian and New Zealand Governments, as well the support Government of Temotu Province, had been vital in ensuring land was made available for the new houses.
“I thank the governments and people of New Zealand and Australia for their generous commitment to assist Solomon Islands to build new houses for police. It is a huge contribution towards our nation building and Lata is very privileged to receive its 17 new houses this year.”
“On behalf of the Government I also thank Temotu Provincial Government for the tremendous support in making land available for these houses to be built.”