25 Jun 2007

Solomon Islands Police Commissioner says re-arming of police shouldn't concern public

1:54 pm on 25 June 2007

The Solomon Islands Police Commissioner says the public should not be concerned about his plans for re-arming two sections of the local police.

Jahir Khan has put in a budget proposal to the government for purchase of weapons for police patrol boats and the close protection unit.

This follows a move at the start of the year by the Prime Minister and the government to have some local police re-armed which was opposed by a wide range of civil society groups and the public.

But, Mr Khan denies that he is pursuing this proposal to tow the government line.

He says it's now safe and essential to re-arm these sections of the police.

"I have no intention of arming the criminals or the thugs. I am arming the law and force agency that is the police force. These are highly trained people, these are professional people, and I'm arming them. I'm fully aware and I'm very much concerned about what happened in the past (in Solomon Islands) and I'm keeping all my eyes and ears open when I make decisions about arming the police."