PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 4) - The foreign police presence in the Solomon Islands was beefed up yesterday with the arrival of an additional 32 police officers from Australia, Tonga and Kiribati in the capital Honiara.

Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP) Acting Commissioner Ben McDevitt said he was pleased that the additional manpower included a female police inspector who would be in charge of the Tongan police contingent.

He said the female officer’s arrival gave impetus to his messages in the past week that he wanted to see more female officers join the RSIP, which better reflected the community which it serves.

"I think that is really good, I was very pleased to see that we had a senior female officer arriving," he said.

Mr McDevitt said 17 of the new police officers were from the Australian Federal Police with 10 from Tonga and five from Kiribati.

He said police officers from Pacific Island countries that were to serve in the Solomon Islands were flown to Townsville, Australia for special training before travelling to Honiara to take p duties. 

Mr McDevitt said he was hopeful he would in the future have more police officers from the Cook Islands, Samoa and Vanuatu.

All police officers from regional Pacific nations would undertake common training in Townsville with colleagues from Australia, New Zealand and other island nations, before being deployed to Solomon Islands.

September 4, 2003

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