16 Jun 2004

RAMSI's top policeman says his female replacement is highly regarded

3:53 pm on 16 June 2004

The Solomon Islands' Deputy Police Commissioner says the police force is ready to accept a woman as its leader.

Australian Ben McDevitt, who also commands the regional assistance mission police unit, is about to complete his year in Solomon Islands.

His replacement is another Australian officer, Sandy Priesly.

Deputy Commissioner McDevitt spoke out after concerns were raised about his replacement being female.

He says there is support in the force for a woman leader.

"I've spoken to a number of them about this and I think they're quite pleased. I think they're more intereested in the qualifications of the person and that person's ability to actually do the job, and at the end of the day that's what it comes down to: Is the person capable of delivering the goods to the RSIP and the people of Solomon Islands."

Ben McDevitt says Sandy Priesly comes with a wealth of experience and well-deserved praise for her work in other international policing missions.

He says also with Ms Priesly's appointment comes encouragement for women in all areas of the country to aspire for the top in all they do.