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Issue No. 412 April 2017

Life after RAMSI

As Solomon Islanders prepare to say “Lukim iu!” – Goodbye! - to RAMSI, New Zealand is shaping its continuing support to the nation’s police.

The Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands officially ends on 30 June, with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) taking full operational responsibility from 1 July.

Outreach: Inspector Trevor Pullen addresses students and community members at Saint Joseph’s National Secondary School near Honiara on the changes.
Photo: Johnson Honimae, RAMSI Public Affairs

New Zealand and Australian police staff, however, will continue in advisory and mentoring roles – rather than RAMSI’s more operational focus - at the request of the Solomon Islands Government.

Around 800 New Zealand Police staff have served under RAMSI since 2003, helping build the capacity of the RSIPF after a period of civil strife.

Under the new Solomon Islands Policing Support Programme (SIPSP), the Kiwi contingent will support the RSIPF in community policing, domestic violence and implementation of a prevention strategy modelled on New Zealand Police’s Prevention First strategy.

“Our staff have done a lot of very good work in these areas,” says Inspector Trevor Pullen, current New Zealand contingent commander.

“The work of current staff and those who have served previously has been greatly valued.”

The prevention strategy, endorsed by the RSIPF and Solomon Islands Government, is being implemented throughout the nation’s nine provinces.

“There’s a lot of ongoing work, ensuring RSIPF officers understand what the policy entails and how it needs to be the basis of all their policing,” says Trevor.

“It’s based on Prevention First but reflects the cultural nuances of the Solomon Islands with, for example, the involvement of church and tribal leaders.”

The 96 RAMSI personnel currently deployed are mainly from Australian Federal Police (AFP), with 17 each from New Zealand Police and Pacific Islands Forum member states.

The new arrangement will see reduced New Zealand and AFP contingents working under four-year bilateral agreements. Staff have been travelling to community outreach meetings around the country explaining the changes.

Details were being finalised by the Police Executive this month, but it was proposed that the Kiwi SIPSP contingent would comprise team leader Inspector Paris Razos, three senior advisors on two-year accompanied deployments and four advisors on one-year unaccompanied deployments.

Two senior advisors would focus on the prevention strategy and the third would be a non-constabulary strategic advisor tasked with monitoring and evaluating the programme to ensure it remains fit for purpose. Applications for the first deployment have closed.

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