NEW ZEALAND POLICE LIKELY TO GO ON PATROL IN SOLOMON ISLANDS

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CANBERRA, Australia (June 6, 2002 – Radio Australia)---New Zealand police are now expected to go on patrol in the Solomon Islands to help restore law and order.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced the proposal in Canberra following talks with his counterpart, Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

Mr. Goff says he's about to take to his Cabinet proposals for a New Zealand team to go to the Solomon Islands to rebuild the police force, adding that the Solomon Islands must deal with "compromised people" within its police force.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister says so-called "special constables" are part of the crime problem and must be removed.

Australia's Alexander Downer says ethnic conflict in the Solomon Islands is under control and the focus must now be on restoring law and order.

"We will be looking at putting a team of people in that will address problems such as the lack of skills in the CID area, lack of forensic skills, and what we can contribute to community policing. We'll be looking at what we can do to provide mentoring and support to front line police and to police at the level of NCO's."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

 

NEW ZEALAND POLICE MAY BACK UP SOLOMON ISLANDS COLLEAGUES

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (June 8, 2002 - RNZI/PINA Nius Online)---New Zealand may send a team of front line police to work with their colleagues in the troubled Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

Since a Honiara coup two years ago -- amidst more than two years of ethnic conflict -- the Solomon Islands Police Force has been compromised.

This was because some men from the elite paramilitary Police Field Force joined with the coup makers of the Malaita Eagle Force militia.

Hundreds of high-powered weapons were taken from police armories. Some have still not been returned despite a peace agreement and arms amnesty campaigns.

The presence of the guns and the problems in the police force sparked a surge in lawlessness, which in turn has led to a growing economic crisis. Key export industries remain closed and investors are reluctant to commit to the Solomon Islands.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, at a meeting in Canberra, reiterated their commitment to work together to rebuild the effectiveness of the Solomons police.

For several years Australia has been endeavoring to build long-term capacity in the force.

Mr. Goff said New Zealand plans to focus on shorter-term operational improvements.

He said: "It means working directly alongside front line police officers and NCOs giving them the support and advice they need but not taking over their responsibility to do the job."

For additional reports from Radio New Zealand International, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio New Zealand International.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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