By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN
MEMBERS of the anti-corruption taskforce JANUS have gone through trainings in anti-corruption investigations before the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) left.
Police Commissioner Matthew Varley revealed this when reporters asked him yesterday about rumours that members of the taskforce lacked trainings on certain investigative areas.
“We have officers trained in anti-corruption investigations inside the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force,” Mr Varley responded.
He said JANUS officers have been trained for some time before RAMSI left.
Mr Varley added that training to investigate corruption not only requires training in financial investigation but also undertaking detective training.
He said it means people have to train on how to conduct investigations and build briefs of evidence.
“It is not an easy thing.
“But we have been training people in financial analysis and investigations for several years.
“In fact, we recently sent five investigators from the RSIPF to a UN course in Fiji just in June this year.
“It was a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) sponsored course but we are able to sent five officers to that because we have financial assistance from RAMSI.”
Mr Varley said the criticism that they haven’t been training their officers is not true.
He said the course they attended involved elements of financial investigations and financial analysis.
Some of the topics covered during the anti-corruption regional training workshop for investigators and prosecutors in Fiji are: investigation, individual analysis, analysing evidence, analysing financial records, identifying the theory and theme of the case, introducing financial evidence in a corruption case and examination of defendant in a corruption case.
Mr Varley said the cases that JANUS taskforce is being involved in are tough cases with complex investigation and will take a long time.
He further clarified that it is normal for modern police forces around the world to engage outside experts to help police detectives carry out investigations.
“That might be areas like financial accounting, cyber crime, computers and law.
“The reason is that police officers are trained as detectives and investigators but they are not necessarily accountants, not lawyers and not computer hackers.
“Right around the world, including the FBI or the London Metropolitan Police, modern police forces are actually engaging with experts in their specific technical fields.
“We already do this in RSIPF, for example in the task force JANUS we already have officers from Ministry of Finance and Treasury who are experts in treasury and financial processes of the Solomon Islands Government working in the taskforce.
“That is the whole point of it.”
Mr Varley added they are always looking at whether or not we are going to need expert assistance on particular cases.
“We are interested in how to grow our skills, including the use of financial auditors or forensic accountants.”
The police chief said that is a piece of work that is underway and in fact they have already started forensic accountant in the JANUS team.
“That is normal and that is good practice.”
Mr Varley added that does not mean their officers don’t have the skills, but it means smart policing.
“Because it does not mean our officers are weak, it means our taskforce is stronger because we are collaborating with experts who have the technical knowledge.
“As we say down the track, no doubt we’ll do it with cyber crime or other types of special crimes as well.
“That does not mean our officers are not equipped to do job or somehow we failed.
“That is actually normal modern policing,” Mr Varley said.
Police chief clarifies doubts over anti-corruption team
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN