Wednesday, 12 March 2008 11:07 AM

Female Police - An Integral Part Of The Force

The Solomon Islands Police Force will be represented by female officers at tomorrow's International Women's Day parade.

One of the officers that will be participating is 42-year-old Acting Sergeant Ester Marisi from Ulawa Island in Makira Ulawa Province.

Acting Sergeant Marisi is a career police officer with over 23 years experience. Her career began in 1984 when she graduated from the Police Academy as a Probationary Constable.

Initially, Acting Sergeant Marisi was posted to Central Police Station where she worked as a registry clerk for two years. After her probation period, she was posted to Gizo Police Station for five years and gained experience in investigations.

Acting Sergeant Marisi concentrated on her investigative skills at Buala Police Station for four years after leaving Gizo. Her role in Buala focused on investigating offences that involved women and was also the radio operator.

"I enjoyed my time in Buala as it allowed me to assist women during criminal investigations. I was able to support and help the communities in my role at Buala and the skills I developed there have helped me in my future as a police officer," she said.

Acting Sergeant Marisi moved from Buala to Marau Police Post and was the officer commanding the station. She remained at Marau until the outbreak of violence during the ethnic tensions.

"The tensions forced me to return to Makira. We were very isolated at Marau and the militants threatened the police in the area. It was for this reason I and the other officers left the area," she said.

Whilst in Makira, Acting Sergeant Marisi was posted to Kira Kira for two years. After this posting, she was transferred to Guadalcanal Province Headquarters in 2002 before being posted to Professional Standards and Internal Investigations in 2003.

Five years on, Acting Sergeant Marisi remains with Professional Standards and Internal Investigations. She has completed a range of training courses including child and sexual abuse offences. In 2007, she also completed the level three Leadership Development Program administered by the Australian Institute of Police Management.

In her 23 years experience, Acting Segeant Marisi has noticed some significant changes in the Solomon Islands Police Force.

"I initially joined the police as I wanted to serve and assist the community. In the earlier years there were some cultural barriers between male and female officers.

"However, gender issues are understood more these days and I'm glad that women can make a career for themselves in policing," she said.

After such an extensive and diverse career, Acting Sergeant Marisi has some advice for other women in the police force and for women in the community.

"I would love to see more women in the police force be more active. After all, we receive the same training as the males so it is time we push forward and become the best officers we can be.

"Policing can be a great career and I encourage young women to look at the Solomon Islands Police Force as option for their future," she said.

The women of the Solomon Islands Police Force will be joined by their RAMSI Participating Police Force counterparts for the International Women's Day march tomorrow.