A DRAFT Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and the Indonesian National Police is expected to be signed soon.
The MoU is focused on cooperation to prevent and combat transnational crimes and building international police capacity.
Supervising minister of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Peter Shanel said the MoU comes at a crucial time where the RSIPF will be able to share information and participate in training to expand its scope and capability, now that RAMSI will be drawing down in July.
“The documents are not yet signed,” Mr Shanel said.
“It is in a draft form.”
He said the Indonesian police will go back to their Foreign Ministry for approval before the signing will take place.
This draft MoU was discussed during the 7th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Police Commissioners’ Police Ministers’ conference in Indonesia last week.
Mr Shanel revealed this on Thursday during the weekly police commissioner’s conference on which he was invited to attend and talk mainly about the conference.
He told reporters that some of the scope of the cooperation in that MoU is preventing, detecting and combating crimes in particular things like trafficking of illicit drugs, smuggling, trafficking in persons, money laundering, arms smuggling, cyber crime, international and economic crime, corruption and other types of crime if deemed necessary by both parties.
In addition to that, Police Commissioner Matthew Varley said the meeting was good for the RSIPF and Solomon Islands to again demonstrate how important it is to cooperate on the international stage.
“I had the opportunity as the newly appointed commissioner to be the chair of the meeting which is an important milestone for the Solomon Islands.”
He said he met with the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary commissioner, the Fiji police force commissioner and the Chief of the Indonesian national police.
“We had meetings with those senior officers but were also able to discuss how we might speed up cooperation across the region on transnational crime, drugs, trafficking and things like terrorism as well smuggling and in particular part of the MOU that we will negotiate with the Indonesian National Police will be focused on how we can exchange and swap intelligence and expertises.
“Indonesia as you know over the past 15 years has been at the forefront of terrorism in the South Pacific region.
“And indeed they have a lot of expertises in identifying and investigating terrorism and although we are safe here in Solomon Islands at the moment from that we still have a lot to learn from our friends in Indonesia and around MSG.
“I think we can benefit from their expertise,” Mr Varley said.
He further explained that MoUs are common in the region and in Asia to forge ties between police forces to share information, intelligence and training.
He said these MoUs give them the flexibility to exchange intelligence on a particular group of terrorist or a particular crime type.
“It is not in any way giving permission for any other country to send police officers here to do operation policing business,” Mr Varley explained.
“That is not the function of these MoUs at all.”
The MoU, he said, if signed would last for a period of five years.
Mr Varley said he also took the opportunity to give an update on the departure of RAMSI and the preparation of the Solomon Islands Police Force for resuming full responsibility for police operations.
He said he gave them an update on the rearmament program and their work there.
“We talk more on our cooperation and contribution in the United Nation peace keeping space where we have still officers deployed to South Sudan later this year.”
He said the officers sent there will finish around September and they will be working with the UN to send another detachment of RSIPF officers to Sudan to continue the good work in support of UN peace keeping.
“I think that is another side of the strength of RSIPF on the international stage.”
He said it was a successful meeting and good opportunity for RSIPF to be participating on the world stage with our partners.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN