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PMO, it is not your role to determine timing of arrests

UNTIL now the first line of defence in upholding the law is the police. In our case it is the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF). The organisation is modelled along the British, probably the best in the free world.

In Solomon Islands, the RSIPF is headed by a commissioner, the man whose statutory powers are independent of other institutions in the country. He is apolitical (meaning, he does not support anyone political groups).

Part of his duties is to provide the ruling government security briefings on a weekly basis. This is done through a meeting with the Prime Minister and his adhoc committee on national security.

These briefings are intended to keep the Prime Minister in the loop of what is going on.

Both men know their limits. This is to avoid perceptions of compromising the integrity and indeed the independence of the RSIPF.

Overstepping the mark has the potential of politicising the police and therefore undermines its work. That much we understand to be the demarcation, in theory that is. In practice though, the opposite seems to be the case or at least there were attempts to do so.

Take for example the statement attributed to the Office of the Prime Minister and published in the newspaper on Thursday. It was the lead article on Page 3 of the Solomon Star.

It said no MPs are to be arrested until the current House is dissolved in December 2019. Since when has the power to arrest been transferred to the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet?

The power to arrest and the execution of it is the prerogative of the police on the advice of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). It certainly is not the PMO’s.

In essence, the statement from PMO suggests that political interference in police work is truly alive and is at work. The timing of police intervention in any crime in terms of arrests is never the prerogative of the Office of the Prime Minister to determine. It is the prerogative of the Commissioner of Police.

This country has lost its sense of direction in almost all other sectors. Police, being the last bastion of law enforcement in this country should never be allowed to be compromised at the expense of national interest.

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