Wednesday, 29 August 2007 10:50 AM

Khan's Statements Misleading: McDermott

Allegations raised that RAMSI is deploying extra troops and police without first consulting the Solomon Islands Police Commissioner is said to be "simply not true".

Commander of the RAMSI Participating Police Force (PPF), Denis McDermott, made the statement in response to "misleading allegations" contained in a letter, signed by the new Solomon Islands Police Commissioner, Mohammed Jahir Khan.

The letter was addressed to the Prime Minister and published in the local media.
Mr. McDermott in refuting the claims said that not only were the allegations not true, but the Commissioner had not raised any of the issues with him directly.
"[I] have made it very clear that I am very keen to have a transparent, efficient and positive working relationship from the top to the bottom between the PPF and the Solomon Islands Force (SIPF)," Mr. McDermott said.

He strongly rejected claims that additional troops had been brought into the country ahead of the expected motion of no-confidence as alleged in the letter signed by the Commissioner.

Mr. McDermott explained that additional troops that arrived were part of the normal rotation of military personnel that has been occurring since the deployment of the mission in 2003.

He said the policing plan for the Operation Parliament had been developed as a joint PPF-SIPF exercise which had been signed off by Commissioner Khan two days before Parliament commenced.

Mr. McDermott adds that a request for the assistance of the PPF and RAMSI's military contingent was also received from Commissioner Khan on the same day.
He said it was "very puzzling" for the Commissioner to sign "a letter suggesting the opposite", revealing that Mr. Khan, as early as June 21, was provided with a detailed written and oral briefing from the then head of the PPF, Commander Will Jamieson.

Commissioner Khan and Commander Jamieson then signed a detailed Service Agreement between the Solomon Islands Police Force and the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands' Participating Police Force regarding the call out of Participating Police Force and Combined Task Force (military) to assist the Solomon Islands Police Force.

Mr McDermott said that since his arrival he had also prepared a briefing both for the Commissioner and for the Cabinet, if they so required.
The briefing however has been deferred as Mr. Khan "has chosen to leave the country for 17 days". Mr McDermott said the briefing will now have to take place on his return.

Additional claim in the Commissioner's letter of 30 AFP officers from Queensland being dispatched to review "riot cases which had failed in court" is said to be "also completely untrue". The PPF Commander McDermott said that no officers were due to come from Queensland into the mission at this time, and no plans are in place to review the riot cases.

"What has been agreed in consultation with the commissioner is that some of the police due in from the Victorian Police Force will concentrate on reviewing unresolved cases from the ethnic tensions and other matter such as sexual exploitation of Solomon Island children.

"Again, as on all of the above matters, I have consulted the Commissioner in detail," Mr McDermott said.

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