New houses for Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) officers became a step closer today, following the announcement that tenders are now being sought for the construction of 84 new police houses.

The construction of the new police houses is expected to be a major local employer during the year-long project, as well as providing a significant boost to the Solomon Islands economy through the use of locally-procured materials.

34 houses will be funded by the NZAID programme within New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with an additional 50 houses funded by RAMSI as a combined procurement. The project will be managed by RAMSI and will see 84 new or refurbished houses built to provide accommodation for Royal Solomon Islands Police officers and their families at Tetere, Henderson and Rove (Guadalcanal Province) in addition to Gizo, Munda and Noro (Western Province).

Solomon Islands Minister for Police, James Tora, welcomed the milestone as a key step in addressing one of the biggest challenges facing Solomon Islands police.

"Providing safe, comfortable housing is an important part of recognising the hard work of the men and women of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force," said Minister Tora. "These new houses are critical to helping to establish policing as a leading, long-term career option in Solomon Islands."

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Graeme Wilson said the project represented a strong example of the Solomon Islands Government - RAMSI partnership in action.

"This police housing development will use a Solomon Islands Government design and will be a major local employer during the length of the project," said Mr Wilson.

"RAMSI's focus will remain on ensuring the long-term sustainability of the houses themselves and the skills developed by those who work on the project."

The request for tenders is set to be released this weekend. Tenders will be assessed on a variety of criteria, including the level of local procurement of materials and labour,as well as clear evidence that the houses meet strict security and environmental standards.