Tuesday, 9 September 2008 2:01 PM

Idea of Expatriate Police Commissioner Brings Disagreement

Senior members of the Solomon Islands Police are reported to be unhappy about the Government's decision to recruit a new expatriate Commissioner of Police.

A well placed source within the Police reported that the Public Service Department has not yet advertised the position of Commissioner of Police locally. He said that this raises the possibility that there may be some internal arrangements to make sure that the police does not have a local Commissioner of Police.

During the Queens Birthday celebrations in April the Governor General, Sir Nathaniel Waena said in his nation wide radio address that the Government was planning to get a Police Commissioner from the UK.

An anonymous source reported that John Langsley an Inspector with the Manchester Police Force and who was Provincial Police Commander for Honiara under former British Police Commissioner William Morel has indicated that he (Langsley) wants to take up the position.

Morrel who comes from UK was Commissioner of Police in Solomon Islands at the height of the ethnic tension, before the RAMSI intervention.

The Police source has said that Morel's salary and entitlements were paid for by the EU from funds normally used previously to train Solomon Islands police officers in the UK, but was diverted to pay for Morrel's salary and other entitlements.

Information had been received however that the EU has not yet made any funding available to meet the salary of any Commissioner of Police for Solomon Islands who comes from any EU country most likely to be UK.

During the recent meeting of Parliament, Police Minister Samuel Manetoali, said during question time that the Government would pick a Commissioner from the United Kingdom.

Our Police source said that there is a general belief within the police force that an opportunity should be given to a national to be a police commissioner.

He said that the Solomon Islands Police Force was now far ahead of other police forces in the region and that it was in the long term interest of the Solomon Islands to have a local Police Commissioner now.

He said we are the only country in the Pacific, with the exception of Nauru, that is without a local Police Commissioner. The position of the Police Commissioner became vacant when the new government forced the former Fijian Police Commissioner Jahir Khan to leave before the expiration of his contract.

The Sikua led Government took the decision because they believed that Khan was closely associated with the former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and handpicked by controversial Australian, and former Solomon Islands Attorney General, Julian Moti.

Since Khan's departure the Solomon Islands Police Force is under the command of the NZ-RAMSI senior police officer Peter Marshalls who is now acting Commissioner of Police.

The local police are speculating that if the EU does not provide the funding to have a UK Police Commissioner the Government may make arrangements to keep Marshalls in the position until such time the EU provides funding.


SOLOMONTIMES.COM WITH NATIONAL EXPRESS