THE Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) welcomes Australia’s assistance to the Police Force especially in the areas of logistics, communications and strategic air lift during the upcoming National General Election on 3 April 2019.
The Australian High Commission in Honiara officially announced the package of assistance, which will also support the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC), on 8 March.
“As the Commissioner of the RSIPF, I would like to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation for the assistance from the Government of Australia which will help us ensure Solomon Islands has a safe and secure NGE next month,” says RSIPF Commissioner Matthew Varley.
Commissioner Varley emphasises: “The assistance from Australia will focus on getting RSIPF officers deployed to the huge number of polling stations scattered around Solomon Islands. RSIPF officers will be on hand to provide security so officers of the SIEC can run the Election in a safe and timely manner. The strategic lift including the use of helicopters will be vitally important to help us deploy our officers around the country and will be especially important if the RSIPF needs to deploy reinforcements should any Public Order Management incident arise.”
“Australia will also provide communications assistance to support links between the police stations throughout the country and the NGE Police Operation Centre (POC) that will be set up at the Rove Police Headquarters in Honiara,” says Commissioner Varley.
He adds: “I want to emphasise here that the assistance from Australia and New Zealand will be focused on logistics support. RSIPF is fully responsible for providing security for the NGE. I am very confident that with the training and other preparations that the RSIPF has been putting together during the past year, our 1,500 officers of the RSIPF assisted by several hundred officers of the Correctional Services of Solomon Islands (CSSI) will be able to step up to the mark and ensure a safe and secure Election.”
The RSIPF has also been rolling out a public awareness program for the NGE over the past few weeks and this will intensify in the lead up to polling day.
“The maintenance of law and order cannot be done by the Police alone. The RSIPF needs the support of every one inside the country including the candidates, their supporters, political parties and the whole spectrum of leadership within the 5,000 villages scattered throughout Solomon Islands.
Elements of the Australian Defence Force Task Group have already begun providing preparatory training to the RSIPF in the areas of logistics, operations, communications, first aid and public affairs ahead of the NGE.