It’s been a busy few months for the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) EOD section and the Australia-Solomon Islands Defence Cooperation Program with the handover of new x-ray machines, metal detectors and detonation supplies critical to the section’s day to day work.
Australian Defence Force (ADF) EOD adviser to the RSIPF Warrant Officer Ian Percy said “it’s great to handover these pieces of capability to the RSIPF so they can continue their excellent and important work for Solomon Islands.”
“The x-rays are particularly impressive and come with in-person training. Our recent ADF training team confirmed the quality of the machines is second to none,” Warrant Officer Percy said.
The x-ray machines enable officers to accurately identify different types of unexploded ordnance which informs how they should be disposed of safely.
In addition to the recent handovers, Australia has also supported Solomon Islands with extensive training including a mentor trainer to assist the RSIPF’s successful training and accreditation of two Nauru Police Force officers in United Nation’s International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) level one.
RSIPF EOD Officer-in-Charge Inspector Clifford Tunuki said “successfully training the two Nauruan officers was an important milestone for the RSIPF and an excellent step in Solomon Islands being recognised as a regional leader in unexploded ordnance disposal.”
“We were pleased to have Australia assist us with this training serial. It is useful for us as we hope to train more international students in the future and become a centre of excellence,” Inspector Tunuki said.
Two ADF training teams visited Solomon Islands this year to conduct United Nations’ IMAS level two courses. Another ADF team will travel to Honiara in 2023 to deliver the level three course.
Australia is the RSIPF EOD section’s principal partner. In 2021 Australia and Solomon Islands jointly announced an enhanced EOD cooperation package including ongoing training, equipment and infrastructure upgrades at Hells Point.
The infrastructure upgrade works will commence at Hells Point in 2023. They will improve the site’s security, unexploded ordnance storage facilities and detonation capacity.