23 Jan 2003

Solomons government says hundreds of special constables no longer needed

5:43 pm on 23 January 2003

The Solomon Islands government says the hundreds of special constables attached to the Royal Solomon Islands Police are no longer needed.

The police minister, Augustine Taneko, and the national unity minister, Nathaniel Waena, say the special constables number over 11-hundred and are too great a financial burden for the government.

Dorothy Wickham reports.

"In an official statement to announce the start of the demobilisation programme, they said reducing the financial burden is crucial, particularly in light of the current economic crisis. The two ministers pointed out that under the Police Act, the government could have reduced the number of special constables by issuing a termination order or returning to a standown formation for SC's. However, demobilising the officers is a goodwill gesture by the government, to help the officers rehabilitate and integrate into their local communities. The demobilisation project will start February fifth, and is being facilitated and funded by the United Nations Development Programme UNDP. So far the manager of the project, Dr Ishmael Wise, confirmed that around 700 officers have been identified as possible candidates."