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Australia delivers on security commitments ahead of the games

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, visited Royal Solomon Island Police Force facilities during November, to watch a demonstration of new capabilities gifted to the Police Force through the Australian Defence Security Cooperation Program.
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The Australian Defence Force has handed over a suite of new equipment, including training, maintenance and sustainment, worth more than SBD 70 million, to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to enhance their security capabilities ahead of the Pacific Games.

The handovers and associated capability demonstrations were attended by the Prime Minister the Honourable Manasseh Sogavare and Australian High Commissioner Rod Hilton and cemented the depth of Australia’s partnership with as Solomon Islands’ primary security partner.

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Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Rod Hilton said the capabilities handed over were world class and requested from Solomon Islands’ leadership to meet their needs – he had no doubt that with these additions the RSIPF was ready for the Pacific Games.

“Australia takes very seriously the trust you place in us to partner with you on your security needs, which is why we ensure everything has whole of life maintenance, sustainment and ongoing training,” High Commissioner Hilton said.

“These capabilities are equal to, and in some cases, supersede what Australia uses.”

“In designing this support we wanted to ensure the Pacific Games is safe and secure for the whole of the Solomon Islands. Our support is delivering under the leadership of the RSIPF and ensuring there are no gaps in any part of the security operation.”

Prime Minister the Honourable Manasseh Sogavare said that these robust capabilities would assist the RSIPF deliver on their national security mandates, including providing for a safe and secure Pacific Games.

“I’m impressed with this elevated capability; thank you for acknowledging the expertise we have – it brings joy to our hearts,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.

“We are committed to this partnership and on behalf of the people of Solomon Islands I’d like to thank the people and Government of Australia for their continued support to the RSIPF and Solomon Islands’ security. We look forward to this continuing into the future.”

Australia committed to providing the state-of-the-art equipment ahead of the Pacific Games and has delivered on this promise. The equipment includes:

  • RSIPF Explosive Ordnance Disposal Section: A Counter-Improvised Explosive capability, including nine trained personnel and tool kits with bomb suits, metal detectors and explosive disruptors. A High Mobility Engineer Excavator was also handed over, which can be used for safely moving unexploded ordnance and responding to natural disasters.

  • RSIPF Maritime Division: formal uniforms and eight new vehicles. The vehicles will be sent to provincial RSIPF locations where Defence has upgraded the small boats facilities. Defence has also completed arming Guardian-class Patrol Boats, RSIPV Gizo and Taro, at Solomon Islands’ request.

  • Rove Police Headquarters: RSIPF VHF Communications Network, which provides highly reliable voice communications across Honiara and includes more than 250 radios with GPS trackers to make communication easier and keep officers safer, especially during major events. More than 600 RSIPF officers have been trained to use the new system.

  • National Response Department: upgrades to the operations centre.

All equipment was delivered as part of the 41-year strong Australia-Solomon Islands Defence Cooperation Program and represents a significant enhancement of the RSIPF’s capability ahead of the Games and for many years to come.

Australia is also providing operational security support to the RSIPF for the Pacific Games, at the request of the Solomon Islands Government. This will include an increase in the Australian security deployment to Solomon Islands in the coming weeks and over the games period.

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