9 Aug 2010

Police in Solomons' say they did not underestimate potential for post election trouble

8:13 am on 9 August 2010

The police in Solomon Islands say they did not under estimate the potential for trouble during the counting period of the election.

On Friday a ballot box and ballot papers were destroyed after a crowd of about 200 people gathered outside the provincial headquarters in the Malaitan capital, Auki.

Also on Friday, supporters of a losing candidate in Temotu province damaged a counting station and the shop of the brother of the winning candidate, while in Tulagi in Central province 16 arrests were made after the shop of the successful candidate was looted and damaged.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says spontaneous events are to be expected and police responded well to the incident in Tulagi.

"We can't be all things to all people and if some immature individuals want to go and enter a shop because they're not happy with the democratic process at short notice without any buildup, that's something that's very difficult for a police force to deal with."

The police say the situation has now quieted down across the country, and the arrests in Tulagi sent a message such behaviour will not be tolerated.