The Royal Solomon Islands police force (RSIPF) together with the search and rescue team have been criticised for their response during the recent flash flood.
A senior police officer who wishes to remain anonymous said had the police responded promptly many lives could have been spared.
He said he was surprised to see most of the officers deployed to look after the Matanikau bridge instead of despatching to the affected settlements of Tuvaruhu, Marbol Street, Vara Creek and Koa Hill.
“I can’t believe the office of the police commissioner orders officers to look after the Matanikau bridge instead of responding to rescue and evacuate victims of the Matanikau flood.
“Its unbelievable to see officers manning the bridge just stood and watched as people were floating down under the bridge,” the officer said.
He said officers should respond quickly to these settlements to assist in rescuing the people and not to man the bridge.
Adding, polices’ failure to respond in time has posed a serious question on the leadership of the force.
“What is the word written on police vehicles, ‘Rapid Response Team’ mean? It does not reflect well of the police when in disaster police did not make an effort to be there in time when help was urgently needed,” the officer added.
He said it was also frustrating to note that even the search and rescue team made no effort to go out at sea to try and search for people washed away by the floods and rescued them.
“What are they doing on the shore when they should be in their boats trying to search for people floating and saving them. Many lives could have been saved if the search and rescue team did went out and try to rescue those floating out there,” the officer said.
Adding, some of those rescued alive were done by coastal villagers and not police or the rescue unit.
He stressed that many of the people were evacuated by individuals using their own vehicles and not that of police vehicles.
The officer also criticised the government for announcing the state of emergency too late and refer to the PM’s aerial view of the disaster stricken areas as waste of time.
He called on the police executive and the government to act responsibly and make wise decisions at critical times like this.
While he applauded police officers for their tireless efforts during the disaster, he felt for those who have lost their lives during the floods.
“If only right orders and decisions were given with quick response from police and rescue teams was made, many lives could have been saved.”
By Daniel Namosuaia