2 Oct 2002

Solomon Islands police commissioner calls for political backing

10:30 am on 2 October 2002

Solomon Islands Commissioner of Police, Morton Sireheti, says the police force needs strong political backing to ensure it can do its job.

Commenting on the debate on whether the next commissioner of police should be a foreigner, Mr Sireheti said it does not matter whether the commissioner is local or foreign, if there is no political will behind him.

He said the problems in the force are well known to the government as they have been raised by previous commissioners, both local and foreign, before the June 2000 coup.

Commissioner Sireheti said officers have been frustrated by their work conditions for the last twenty years.

He believes this frustration led some police to take a role in the overthrow of the Ulufa'alu Government.

Mr Sireheti says he is ready to leave the force if the Government sees fit to employ a foreigner but warns the current government attitude towards police will ensure the force does not improve.