18 Oct 2004

Solomon police borrowing to survive

5:25 pm on 18 October 2004

The Solomon Islands assistant police commissioner, Johnson Siapu, says police officers are paid so badly, they need to borrow money to survive.

His comments comes after a radio programme highlighted that some police earn no more than 40 US dollars a fortnight.

Mr Siapu is backing calls from the Police Commissioner for the government to increase officers' pay in the 2005 budget.

He says police stay through fear of not finding a better paying job, but many have to borrow money to get by.

"It's borrowing money from friends to survive, and then you get paid the next day, the next pay day, and then you cover that up and then you continue with that sort of borrowing again. It's the only way for people to survive."

Mr Siapu says a pay increase will make a difference, but it would still not match price increases.

At the moment, police officers fortnightly pay increases by about 60 to 70 cents a year.