SOLOMONS POLICE DEFEND PERFORMANCE DURING RIOTS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 24) – To say the Participating Police Force acted negligently during last month’s riot the Solomon Islands capital Honiara is irresponsible and without foundation says police commander Will Jamieson.

Commander Jamieson made this statement following criticisms over police response to last month’s riots.

Commander Jamieson said during last month’s riots more than 30 police force officers were injured helping save lives and property and he finds it incredible that nobody was killed during the unrest.

"For anyone to make comments that the police force acted negligently is irresponsible and without foundation," he said. "The men and women of the police force care about the people of the Solomons and we are here to help our neighbours."

The police force has been an integral part of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, since the mission started and forms a capacity building role of training and supporting Royal Solomon Islands Police officers.

It is currently made up of 14 police forces from Pacific Nations comprising Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Commander Jamieson said during the past month a number of stories have came to light of some incredible acts of bravery from police force members on duty during the riots.

"Police force officers performed duties well and truly above and beyond the call of duty under extremely adverse conditions and did so selflessly in an extremely enthusiastic and professional manner. They displayed courage, determination, steadfastness and resourcefulness of the highest order. There are stories of police force officers swimming across rivers to rescue people, dragging people out of burning buildings while continually being pelted with stones.

"These are not the actions of people who do want to be here and do not care about what happens in Honiara and the Solomons"

Commander Jamieson said the police force was, and remained committed to the Solomons.

May 25, 2006

Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com

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