Dear Editor,

Subject: Justice Delay is Not Justice at All: Police Slowness to Respond in Rural Communities in South Malaita.

Sir, please allow me to voice my opinion with regards to the above subject. According to Solomon Islands electoral statistics in 2019, it shows that the total population of eligible voters for three Constituency in South Malaita Region is 19,624 people, excluding children under the age of 18. As a concerned scholar, I want to express my deep concerns regarding the inadequate police coverage in our region. It has come to my attention that our region, which has a population of over twenty thousand people, with a vast area of 480.5 km2, is being served by only one police officer and a single police station (Maka Police Station). This situation raises serious concerns about the safety of rural communities and the effectiveness of law enforcement services in our region.

The prevailing issue of delayed police response to criminal activities occurs in rural communities in South Malaita, and its direct impact on the principle of access to justice, has far-reaching consequences, both for the people who want to seek urgent help and for the integrity of our justice system as a whole. Today, it has become increasingly evident that justice delayed is indeed justice denied, especially when considering the slow pace at which police offices respond to incidents in our rural areas in South Malaita.

Delayed police responses not only expose individuals to prolonged danger but also erode public trust in law enforcement agencies. As Solomon Islanders, we have the right to feel protected, irrespective of our geographical location, and we do deserve prompt police assistance in times of need.

Furthermore, I have observed and hear complaints from our communities regarding police’s failure to provide timely responds when communities call or report incidents to them. Subsequently, his really foster a sense of neglect and abandonment among individuals in our communities, making them feel marginalized and underserved. With such a vast population relying on a lone police officer, it is evident that slow response can also lead to vital evidence being lost or compromised, thus this could be undermining the pursuit of justice in the long run. To address this issue, it is important that our government through responsible ministry, must establish satellite police stations in 3 constituencies within South Malaita, with adequate resources to enhanced transportation system. This could include posting an experience and competent police officers that specialise in enforcing law effectively in rural villages.

All in all, in a just society, every citizen, regardless of their remoteness, should have equal access to timely police assistance. As timely intervention often results in more accurate evidence collection, which is essential for fair, just, and effective legal proceedings. It is only through such efforts that we can uphold the principles of justice to all and ensure that injustices arise in rural communities must be sanctioned.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to seeing this letter being published in your paper pages.

Andrew Taylor Awa

Law, Legal Systems and Access to Justice-Student
University of the South Pacific -SI Campus