Young people in Honiara and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) have discussed how to work more closely together as partners to ensure the youth have a safe future.

This came during a Youth Forum coordinated by the RSIPF at the Multi-purpose Hall at Lawson Tama in Central Honiara today (30 September 2019). It was attended by about 100 youth from across Honiara and senior officers of the RSIPF.

“The RSIPF decided to convene this meeting after I met with some youth leaders last week and they expressed a desire for the voices of more young people to be heard. This Forum was a simple way to establish dialogue between police and youth in Honiara city. We want to talk about the work of the police and we want to listen to what young people think about how RSIPF does its work,” RSIPF Commissioner Matthew Varley explained as he outlined the objective of the meeting.

Commissioner Varley told the Forum: “I know the RSIPF is not perfect but please do not judge us by what we do wrong but judge us by what we do to correct our mistakes.”

“We want to work with you today to understand your views and challenges and to see how we can work together so our community is stronger and safer. From the wisdom that you as youth have, we hope to be able to find some new ways to address together the challenges that we face. I do not want the distance between the police and youth to be great.”

“The RSIPF is your police force. Policing is not about power but is about respect. It’s a partnership. Hold us accountable for what we do. We hope the partnership between police and the youth will be a little bit stronger.”

“The most important thing for our community right now is peace. Your views deserve to be heard. You have the right to have a voice and have an opinion but we all want to make sure that all views and opinions are heard peacefully,” Commissioner Varley told the Youth Forum.

During the meeting youth who attended the Forum thanked the Commissioner of Police for convening the meeting.
Several young people asked questions of the Commissioner on a range is issues over a period of one and a half hours.

“We want to thank the Commissioner of Police for coming down to meet with us. We respect you for that. We like it because you are taking responsibility for the youth,” said Ronnia, one of the youth who spoke during the Youth Forum.

He added: “We want to ensure that the police protect our rights. We want police to avoid corrupt practices. Let’s work together with the police so we have a safe future. In order to build our country we need to work together. We need the police to protect the youth.”

Other youth who spoke during the Youth Forum encouraged young people not to expect others to do things for them but to try and help themselves.

At the end of the meeting senior RSIPF officers who attended the Forum encouraged the youth to visit them if they have any issues they want to discuss as part of the partnership and the dialogue established as a result of the Youth Forum held today. Following the forum, participants and police enjoyed a BBQ lunch together to keep the conversations going.

Source: RSIPF Media