17 Nov 2003

Elite division with Solomon Island Police Force to be abolished

9:10 am on 17 November 2003

The elite Special Task and Rescue, or STAR, division of the Royal Solomon Islands Police force will soon be abolished.

The Police Commissioner, William Morrell, made the decision after a review of the force.

The STAR Divsion was created last year as part of moves to integrate the paramilitay Police Field Force into mainstream policing.

But the PPF was compromised by its connection with the militant group, the Malaita Eagle Force and as a result there was little confidence in the entire police force among many Solomon Islanders.

The existing members of the discredited division will be transferred to general duties.

A smaller operational support unit, likely to be similar to an armed response unit, will be set up in the New Year.

It will be made up of newly recruited officers and existing staff who have demonstrated competency and experience.