The Editor
Solomon Times on Line

Dear Editor

I refer to a recent SIBC news bulletin which made reference to the RSIPF's preparedness for the upcoming general election in November.

I would be appreciative if allowed to comment.

In respect of the police preparedness, the following paragraphs were included in the SIBC bulletin:

"Meanwhile, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force will tomorrow conduct a Public Order Management demonstration in efforts to upgrade its response capability for this year’s General Elections.

"The demonstration will include live ammunition drills and is an exercise to prepare police response capabilities across the country."

I would sincerely hope that the writer of that particular piece did not mean to say the police would be firing live ammunition in their exercises at Hells Point with a view to using live ammunition in future police deployments involving public order management.

The firing of live ammunition is contrary to the international norms on the use of minimum force and is only used as a last resort.

The last incident of the use of live ammunition fired by two Tongan members deployed with RAMSI allegedly resulted in the death of a former police officer at Titinge in late 2010 and to-date there has been no official result of the police investigation conducted into that fatality, or an inquest held.

If the RSIPF is to be re-armed then all alternative methods of less lethal arms control must be investigated and acquired and nobody, I am sure, wants to see the RSIPF not adhering strictly to the international rules on the use of arms during public order management and control.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short