AFP helps improve RSIPF capabilities to keep communities safe – Australian Federal Police | CarTailz

Editor’s note: Images of the gift giving ceremony are available through Hightail.

The AFP has provided specialist training and donated vehicles and weapons for a total investment of over AUD$1.3 million to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) which continues to strengthen its operational capability leading up to and after the Pacific Games 2023.

In a gifting ceremony held today (November 2, 2022) in Honiara, AFP, through the RSIPF and the AFP Policing Partnership Program (RAPPP), donated 13 vehicles and 60 Daniels Defense MK18 rifles.

Four of the vehicles are being used to help set up a mobile protection unit for the RSIPF. The MPU will respond to and manage security threats and incidents to critical infrastructure, and the four vehicles will give the RSIPF a highly visible presence in the community.

The AFP will provide training to MPU members in the specialties of suspicious behavior and criminal activity detection to strengthen an intelligence responsiveness capability to protect diplomatic missions, senior Solomon Islands officials and visiting international dignitaries.

The RSIPF will use the other nine vehicles in its Police Response Team (PRT) of two trucks and seven four-wheel drive vehicles specially designed for the team to respond to high-risk incidents and manage public order. These vehicles will help the RSIPF update its fleet and provide officers with improved operational mobility. The AFP can also provide vehicle maintenance and training support through the RAPPP to ensure vehicles are effective over the long term.

Supplied to the PRT as part of an ongoing limited rearmament program, the Daniels Defense rifles will provide the RSIPF with enhanced capabilities to counter criminal threats and maintain peace and stability.

AFP Acting Commander RAPPP Clinton Smith said the donation represents AFP’s ongoing commitment to provide the RSIPF with the best resources to help keep their communities safe and secure.

“The AFP and RSIPF share a deep friendship that is regularly demonstrated through the sharing of resources and capabilities to ensure current and future security challenges and needs in the region are met,” Acting Commander Smith said.

“The AFP is proud to be Solomon Islands’ preferred security partner and will continue to work closely with RSIPF officers to ensure they are trained and equipped to provide the Solomon Islands community with an efficient, modern police force.

Lesa Gale, AFP acting Deputy Commissioner Operations, said AFP’s relationship with the RSIPF will only strengthen as the region prepares to take to the world stage with the Pacific Games in 2023.

“The AFP, through RAPPP and the Solomons’ International Assistance Force (SIAF), is working closely with the RSIPF as they prepare for key regional events in Honiara, particularly the Pacific Games in 2023,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Gale said.

“Preparing for milestones like the Pacific Games and the 2024 national general election helps build a stronger operational partnership between the AFP and RSIPF to fight crime in the region.”

RSIPF Commissioner Mostyn Mangau said the donation would help strengthen the RSIPF’s ability to protect and serve the Solomon Islands community.

“RSIPF thanks AFP through RAPPP for this generous donation which will contribute to security, peace and stability in the Solomon Islands,” said Commissioner Mangau.

“As part of the RAPPP program, the AFP continues to help build the capacity and capabilities of the RSIPF through various programs based on our needs.”

The Australian High Commissioner for the Solomon Islands, Dr. Lachlan Strahan said today’s handover marks another milestone in the long-standing security and policing partnership between the Solomon Islands and Australia, spanning several decades.

“We’ve been through thick and thin together. As Prime Minister Sogavare said, our partnership is based on our shared duty to ensure that our region remains peaceful, prosperous and stable,” said Dr. Strahan.

“Australia-Solomon Islands security cooperation is multifaceted, encompassing not only policing but also defence, border protection, justice and non-traditional security threats. Australia’s support is fast, direct and responsive.”

The RSIPF’s limited upgrade began in 2013 with the aim of upgrading a limited number of officers to ensure the RSIPF is prepared to counter criminal threats and maintain peace and stability.

The Governments of Solomon Islands and Australia agreed that the AFP, through the RAPPP, would assist the RSIPF in introducing Daniels Defense MK18 rifles for use by the PRT.

Phase two of the rearmament program is now underway, with AFP members providing support and training to RSIPF officers, including the use of force.

The AFP also advises the RSIPF on infrastructure upgrades to ensure facilities such as shooting ranges and armories can accommodate the new weapons.

In January 2022, 10 RSIPF members successfully completed training in Brisbane to become qualified instructors on the new Daniels Defense rifles, preparing them to conduct the training on specialist teams.

The training and tactics provided to the RSIPF are consistent with what is considered international best practice for law enforcement and uphold the underlying principles of negotiation and de-escalation and that deadly force is a last resort, after all other ways of using force were considered. The use of force must be in accordance with Solomon Islands legislation and the orders of the Commissioner.

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