8 Dec 2010

Solomon Islands police response to violence is criticised

6:30 am on 8 December 2010

A former Solomon Islands Police Commissioner has criticised the police response to last week's disturbance in Honiara that followed the sentencing of former cabinet minister Jimmy Lusibaea.

More than 40 arrests were made after youths allegedly assaulted police, threw stones and attacked shops.

Former police commissioner Frank Short says the near riot should further alert the authorities to the tinderbox of idle youth living in squatter settlements.

He also says the police should have known to take precautions to block the entrance to Chinatown which is always the first target for looters

"Police action has always been in the past to prevent that kind of thing occurring. And I'm very very disappointed really that it happened again, and it happened again when all the lessons of the Honiara riots in 2006 when Chinatown was virtually burnt to the ground, has happened once again."

Frank Short says local police officers were also put at risk by not having protective equipment when they were sent to control the situation.