WE are here to protect and look after the nation.
These were the words of Senior Sergeant Moses Ofu and Constable Kevin Daokalia – two of the 125 police officers from the Close Personal Protection Unit and Police Response Team who are now armed after Monday’s launching of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force limited rearmament.
Mr Ofu, who is the Police Response Team (PRT) trainer, told the media after the ceremony that it was a big day for them.
“This is a new challenge for us going armed in public to serve the community,” Mr Ofu said.
He said the training they went through to qualify for rearmament was “very intensive”.
“We have gone through a lot of intense and stress training that guides us to make a decision, critical decision in critical situation.
“It is a big step for the RSIPF to be armed and to execute our duty as we will not only respond to small situation but also situations on our waters as well.
Mr Ofu said the responsibility on how to operate and handle the arms now lies with the police officers from the Close Personal Protection Unit (CPP) and PRT.
He also assured the nation that the armoury is today a secured place with 24/7 security surveillance.
“It changed from the last time.
“Only certified people are allowed to enter the armoury,” Mr Ofu said.
“Whenever the specially trained officers from both units need an arm; they will have to go through the armourers before they can access the armoury.”
Mr Daokalia, a CPP police constable said Monday’s launching of the limited rearmament was “a new turn in history for me and a new challenge for me as well”.
He said it is a very big responsibility and it is not going to be an easy task.
He said it also means that they have to be careful at all times.
However, Mr Daokalia said after 10 years with the RSIPF and to be able to reaffirm his oath and receive the certificate for rearmament was “refreshing”.
“This is a new environment, a changed one and I encourage everyone to have courage and faith in us.
“We are here to protect you and look after you,” Mr Daokalia said.
He said their obligation is not only for people in Solomon Islands but also to overseas visitors and official delegations.
Therefore, he urged Solomon Islanders to have confidence in them.
“I ask people to have confidence in us.
“…the past is gone and it is a new start for us,” he said.
“I am confident that with our qualification to hold a gun we can now safely executive our work,” Mr Daokalia said.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN