Pacific Island Police: significant contribution to the success of RAMSI

Pacific Island Police

Relatively little attention has been paid to the contribution made by the large number of Pacific Islands police who served in the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI)

RAMSI retained high levels of popular support until the mission finally ended in June 2017.

For most Solomon Islanders, it was the mission’s Participating Police Force (PPF) that provided the public face of RAMSI.

In the course of their work, the Pacific Islands police drew on their affinity with village life; appreciation of family and kinship ties, customary practices and beliefs; and their knowledge of the role churches play in Pacific Islands society.

Pacific Islands police had an advantage over their non-Pacific Islands PPF colleagues – some could use their “local” understanding and sensibilities to persuade their Australian or New Zealand managers to move beyond conventional Western policing norms where appropriate.

The church outreach programme permitted uniformed officers to attend services and speak with local congregations about a range of issues including law and order.

An officer involved in this PPF-approved programme claimed its extended outreach was approximately 67,000 people in a single year – or 10% of the national population.

These conclusions are contained in a report prepared by the Australian National University’s Department of Pacific Affairs with the support of the Australian Federal Police.

The report offered a detailed examination of the experiences of Pacific Islands police who served with the mission.

The findings are based on interviews, focus-group meetings and some survey work.


News category: Asia Pacific.

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