28 Jul 2014

Solomons police boss under scrutiny

11:06 am on 28 July 2014

The Solomon Islands police force has has come under criticism for the appointment of a man accused of manufacturing a riot at an Australian offshore detention centre.

Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands

Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands Photo: RNZI / Annell Husband

Frank Prendergast was appointed the new Solomon Islands Police Commissioner two weeks ago, a move welcomed by the former Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Previously he was the deputy commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, and during his tenure, he was recorded saying the force withdrew a riot squad partly to "manufacture a situation" on Christmas Island, prior to the March 2011 riots at the detention centre.

The AFP denies the claim but admitted the use of the "manufacture a situation" phrase was a "poor choice of words".

The allegations and recording, made by an AFP Seargent, has was referred to the corruption watchdog, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, last year.

The outspoken civil society group the Malaita Ma'asina Forum told the Solomon Star the appointment is inappropriate.