RAMSI Acting Special Coordinator Justine Braithwaite, Acting Participating Policing Force (PPF) Commander Noel Scobell, and Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Deputy Commissioner Walter Kola, today announced that 32 new police vessels have been gifted by the PPF to the RSIPF.
The vessels are the result of an extensive review of RSIPF Mobility undertaken in 2010. The Review determined the number of vessels required by the RSIPF to deliver an improved and increased level of service delivery to its communities throughout Solomon Islands.
All vessels come with safety equipment and officers will be trained in their operation and how to conduct routine maintenance. In addition, PPF will fund a program to service and maintain the vessels for the next 12 months.
In total the review identified a need for 35 vessels (Ray Boats) to be based at Provincial Police Headquarters and Posts in various locations. 2012 saw the delivery of 10 vessels which were funded jointly by the PPF and Solomon Islands Government. The remaining 25 vessels, funded exclusively by the PPF, are now ready, and have begun being distributed to Provincial locations, 3 new vessels arrived in Western Province last week.
Western Province Provincial Police Commander John Rove expressed his gratitude for the vessels, “these vessels are most welcome and will be used to improve Policing throughout Western Province”.
In addition to the 25 new Ray Boats, 7 specialised Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) will also be gifted. The RHIB’s will provide an increased ability to patrol and respond to crime throughout Solomon Islands. The vessels are faster and have a longer range than the Ray Boats. The provision of these 7 fast RHIB vessels is one of the first recommendations to be delivered as an outcome of the RSIPF/PPF Border Review which was conducted during 2013.
The Acting Special Coordinator Braithwaite commented that “These new RHIB vessels signal a commitment by RAMSI and the PPF to support the RSIPF and SIG’s desire to strengthen its national security capability through the acquisition of specialized boats that will allow the RSIPF to respond urgently to any threats that may be detected in vulnerable border areas particularly in Western Province. It’s the first in a series of new projects and initiatives that will see the PPF and RSIPF continue to work together over 2013 to 2017 to create a more capable RSIPF that will be able to respond much faster to any threats detected at sea ”.
The 32 vessels will enable the RSIPF to access villages and communities inaccessible by road, improving patrols, community policing and access to the RSIPF for all Solomon Islanders.
Participating Police Force Acting Commander, Noel Scobell stated “the first 10 ray boats already gifted to the provinces have significantly improved the ability of RSIPF officers to visit some of the more remote communities and respond to and investigate crimes that are being committed in areas that until recently could not be reached due to a lack of transportation. This is a major, positive step forward in the delivery of police services across the Solomon Islands.”
One vessel has been immediately deployed to Tulagi and went into operation in support of the Solomon Games; it demonstrates the immediate and valuable impact of this essential new capability.
RSIPF Deputy Commissioner Walter Kola closed the gifting ceremony by adding that “Increasing the maritime capability of the RSIPF is vital to the future of the RSIPF. It is absolutely essential that in the coming years, the RSIPF is able to develop a modern and sustainable civilian water policing capability that meets all of its needs for the short to medium term future.”
These 32 new vessels mark a significant milestone for the RSIPF and will bring the total number of its vessels to 42. The vessels are a crucial element of rebuilding the RSIPF’s ability to Police Solomon Islands for everyone, particularly in the provinces.
The recommendations for further fleet acquisition are contained within the RAMSI Draw Down Strategy 2013-2017. Once that Strategy has been signed, the PPF and RSIPF will commence delivering those additional capacity development programs in support of the RSIPF.
Press Release: RAMSI