12 Jan 2012

Solomons PM says no question police will be re-armed

4:19 pm on 12 January 2012

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister says there is no question the police force in the country will eventually be re-armed.

Gordon Darcy Lilo has told the Solomon Star newspaper the matter must be cautiously considered, and says the focus should be on building the capacity of the police force first.

However, he acknowledges public concerns about the country's law and order situation and the capacity of the police force to be able to stand on its own feet.

In 2007, the provincial premier of Western Province warned that his province would secede if the police force was re-armed.

The police force was compromised during the ethnic tension in the 1990s and some officers joined the Malaita militants who carried out a coup in 2000.

The security situation improved after the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands arrived in 2003 and removed arms.