THE Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands Participating Police Force (PPF) has reported on the progress of the implementation of its Drawdown Strategy 2013 – 2017 which was agreed on by RAMSI and the Solomon Islands Government last year.
A briefing on the progress of the implementation was provided at the first Board of Management (BoM) meeting for the RAMSI Drawdown Strategy 2013 – 2017 held recently at the Mission’s base at GBR in East Honiara
The meeting was attended by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Edmond Sikua; the Permanent Secretary for RAMSI, Jeffrey Kauha; the Acting Commissioner of the RSIPF, Juanita Matanga; the RAMSI Special Coordinator, Justine Braithwaite; Commander PPF, Greg Harrigan; as well as other representatives from these organisations.
During the meeting, the Commander of the PPF and PPF representatives provided a comprehensive briefing to the BoM members on details of all the projects delivered in the first year of the RAMSI Drawdown.
Participants at the meeting emphasised that projects delivered under the strategy must be able to be sustained in the future by the RSIPF and they must full into one or more of the agreed themes outlined within the strategy.
These themes include: Training and Leadership; Mobility, Infrastructure and Logistics; Community Policing; National Security; National Emergency and Disaster Response; and Corporate Support, Policy and Governance.
PPF Commander Greg Harrigan told the meeting that there are two types of projects that are being delivered under the themes.
“There are those that are people intensive and are ongoing, such as enhancing community engagement through Community policing initiatives, development of the RSIPF public order response capability and leadership development.
“The other type of projects require capital investment in infrastructure and equipment, and these need to be sustainable through future RSIPF budget allocations.
The two types of projects go hand in hand as training provides understanding and accountability in the safe and responsible use of capital investments,” said PPF Commander, Mr Harrigan.
During the meeting, the PPF outlined some of the more significant projects that have been delivered under the Drawdown Strategy to date.
These include enhancement of the RSIPF National Emergency and Disaster response capability with the delivery of a new Fire truck, a bulk water carrier, an Ambulance and a Rescue vehicle.
Protective clothing, equipment and training has also been delivered to the RSIPF specialist staff that will use the equipment associated with these vehicles.
The Board of Management meeting agreed that work is to commence on identification of a suitable site to construct a fire station to appropriately house the gifted vehicles and equipment.
As part of the Drawdown Strategy, a number of buildings have also been renovated including an upgrade of Tetere Police Station and the provision of a new office for the Sexual Assault Squad.
Both buildings provide greater space and comfort for the police, witnesses and victims who work in or visit these premises.
The cell block at Tetere has been improved to ensure individuals in custody are housed in a secure environment that meets human rights standards. Work on the new Sexual Assault Squad building has also been completed.
This is a secure and private facility for victims of sexual assault where they can safely come and make a report to the police, obtain medical attention, receive counselling and be treated with respect.
RAMSI has also invested in increasing the RSIPF’s capacity to respond to police assistance calls by providing 43 vehicles that will replace many of the inoperable vehicles in the current fleet.
The vehicles will also improve mobility of some of the RSIPF’s specialist teams such as community policing, sex offences and explosive ordinance destruction.
In addition to vehicles nine boats will be delivered shortly to key locations across the provinces with vehicles to launch and retrieve them.
The BOM was advised that the vessels and vehicles should improve police response times and the vessels will also assist the police in gaining access to remote areas and improve maritime security.
Commenting on the Board of Management, Permanent Secretary for Police, Mr Sikua said, “the BoM was very important in ensuring that the projects delivered under the Drawdown strategy provided improvements for the future of the RSIPF and the future of national security in the Solomon Islands.”
Permanent Secretary for RAMSI, Mr Kauha also emphasised the importance of the BoM and also the interest from the Solomon Islands Government on the developments of what has been occurring through RAMSI.
“Police is the only institution that could maintain the unity of a country and we are no exception. The BoM certainly provides the oversight role in ensuring that agreed programmes identified under the drawdown strategy are on track,” said Mr Kauha.
The BoM agreed the current themes of the Drawdown Strategy remain appropriate and relevant and that the PPF will continue to work with the RSIPF over the next 12 months with a focus on improving national security capabilities including progressing with the limited rearmament project and improving accountability within the force through strong and stable leadership.
The RAMSI Special Coordinator, Ms Justine Braithwaite welcomed the discussions during the meeting of the BoM.
“The BoM remains the key dialogue mechanism through which the Solomon Islands Government, RSIPF and RAMSI can engage, discuss and adjust police capacity development projects to ensure these remain targeted and focused on areas of greatest need,” said Ms Braithwaite.