Samoa Police Providing security For SIDS VIPs Won’t Be Armed

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Trainer: Samoa isn’t a violent country, no need for guns

By Kerstin Ofisa

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, August 7, 2014) – Local police officers allocated to escort V.I.P.'s – including many top government representatives – during S.I.D.S Conference will not be carrying guns.

The safety of their guests, however, will be their paramount concern. In fact, they are well prepared for any eventuality, including the worst-case scenario.

That’s the message from the Police, three weeks away from the much-anticipated Small Islands Developing States (S.I.D.S) Conference.

On Tuesday, the Police, with assistance from the Australian Federal Police, ended the Close Personal Protection (C.P.P.) Programme at Hotel Millennia. It was designed to train local police officers on how to transport and protect V.I.P. guests.

Twenty-six officers graduated with certificates.

Asked by the Samoa Observer if the officers would be armed, C.P.P. Course Manager, Shan Rice, said there was no need for it.

"Samoa is not a violent country," he said. "So there is no need for guns in this case."

But the officers, he said, would not be ignorant should something arise. Pointing out that the call for the use of firearms would have to come from the government of Samoa, Mr Rice assured that the officers are as prepared as they could be.

But what if a case of a terrorist threat arises?

Mr Rice assured that the police have planned for the "worst case scenario."

What that plan is he would not discuss for security reasons.

As for the C.P.P., Mr Rice said: "We’re here to train the police to undertake certain duties up to a certain level."

He added that "guns were not involved in the C.P.P. Training."

Acting Police Commissioner, Fauono Talalelei Tapu, said the training was extremely important as part of Samoa’s preparations for S.I.D.S.

He thanked the Australian government through the Samoa and Australian Police Partnership for providing the technical support as well as the equipment.

Fauono also congratulated the participants.

"I now have confidence that you have equipped yourselves with new skills and knowledge that will assist you all in providing close protection and security during the conference."

Fauono encouraged the participants to follow and put into practise what they had been taught.

He also reminded that the "lives of the people will be in your hands."

Mr Rice agreed.

"Your V.I.P protection skills are in great demand for this conference so I wish you all the best."

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