A $9 million police station funded by the Australian Government will serve communities in Naha and East Honiara and support police efforts to control crime in the city.
The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force opened the new police station yesterday in a ceremony that included Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services Moses Garu and the guest of honour, Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela.
In his keynote address, Prime Minister Houenipwela thanked the Australian Government and the people of Australia for funding the new station.
“My Government fully acknowledges and appreciates Australia for continuing to support the RSIPF through the bilateral arrangements between our two governments,” he said.
He called the new station a ‘critical asset’ to policing in the area.
“The establishment of Naha Police Station is the result of the Solomon Islands’ Government, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, and community and churches’ initiative to address the law and order situation in this area, one of the very populated areas in Honiara,” the Prime Minister said.
The new police station, built by Hatanga Construction Ltd., will serve the portion of Honiara that includes east and west Kola Ridge, Borderline, Green Valley, Naha, Vura and the Burns Creek area.
The population of the catchment area is about 20,000 people.
“As the policing areas are vast, Naha policing continues to be a great challenge to the RSIPF strategically, operationally and tactically,” Prime Minister Houenipwela said.
Given the large unemployed youth population in the Naha area, he said criminal activity has the potential to flourish unless the RSIPF dedicates more resources to policing there.
Statistics show that domestic violence, drug abuse, illegal settlement and other crimes are prevalent in the area.
But Prime Minister Houenipwela said crime prevention is not only about strict enforcement of the law.
Police engagement through community policing activities is another important component, and the new complex will create an environment in which officers can carry out those duties, he said.
The new police station features an undercover parking area for two fire rescue vehicles, an incident command centre, interview and charging rooms, and a watch house with two cells.
Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Roderick Brazier said through aid funding from the Australian Government, the Solomon Islands Police Development Program and RAMSI have delivered policing projects throughout the country.
And he said the new police station in Naha was one of the Australian Government’s largest infrastructure investments in the police force to help maintain peace and security.
“The building demonstrates the commitment by the Australian Government and its people, through SIPDP, to providing and supporting the RSIPF with modern facilities which cater for improved operational service delivery and greater social harmony,” he said.
By Allen Waitara