The recently signed Police Cooperation Agreement between the Governments of Solomon Islands and the Peoples Republic of China will further strengthen the capability of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) across various areas.
This is critical for managing the country’s domestic security affairs and has nothing to do with the ongoing geopolitical bickering by some of the country’s traditional alliances.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare highlighted this Monday this week following his recent visit to China where he and his Ministers signed nine Memorandum of Agreements with their Chinese counterparts.
The Police Cooperation Plan will be implemented during a three-year period from 2023 to 2025 and will be reviewed if necessary.
It is a three-year agreement that complements the Pacific country’s police cooperation with Australia and New Zealand aimed at increasing the Royal Solomon Islands Police Rorce’s capabilities and will contribute to eventual self-reliance.
The implementation plan enhances cooperation on law enforcement and security matters with a commitment by China to provide support as needed for strengthening Solomon Islands police law enforcement capacity.
“The plan aims to maintain law and order security and social stability, protecting the security and interests of all citizens of Solomon Islands, thereby creating a sound and stable environment for the social and economic development of our country,” Sogavare said.
The Scope of the implementation plan includes various trainings, capacity building initiatives and equipment for RSIPF, including in the areas of response to public emergency, establishment of Digital Communication Systems (VHF and Interpol), establishment of Forensic Autopsy Lab, cyber security, traffic control, major event security protection, preparation for UN Mission Service, police academy, infrastructure construction and advisory support.
Some of these areas such as the provision of vehicles and police equipment and the construction of the Forensic Autopsy Lab have already been implemented.
In addition, Prime Minister Sogavare said concerns raised by traditional allies such as the US and Australia on the policing agreement are not in the interest of Solomon Islands and there should be no “fear”.
“The United States and Australia had nothing to fear from the police cooperation agreement with China,” he said.
Currently, Solomon Islands has a total of 1500 police personnel serving a population of more than 700,000 people across the whole country.
The country, especially, the national capital Honiara is susceptible to public disorder or riots, often triggered by political or social events.
The RSIPF was often over stretched and incapable of containing public disorders in the past resulting in death and destruction of property and public utilities.
These situations require a stronger and well equipped police force to protect the citizens of the country.