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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

RAMSI PPF disappointed by Jahir Khan allegations

by Jeremy Miller

The Commander of the RAMSI Participating Police Force (PPF), Denis McDermott, has strongly rejected misleading allegations that RAMSI is deploying extra troops and police without consulting with the relevant Solomon Island authorities.

The allegations, contained in a letter signed by the new Solomon Islands Police Commissioner Mohammed Jahir Khan and addressed to the Prime Minister, were published in the local media yesterday.

Mr McDermott expressed surprise at the allegations, saying not only were they not true but he was disappointed that the Commissioner had not raised any of these issues with him directly.

“I have always been very open with the Commissioner and have made it very clear that I am very keen to have a transparent, efficient and positive working relationship from the top to the bottom between the PPF and the Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF),” Mr McDermott said.

“I am a part of the Solomon Islands Police Executive and I attend senior officer group meeting most Wednesdays and Fridays.”

Mr McDermott said it was simply not true that additional troops had been brought into the country ahead of the expected motion of no-confidence as alleged in the letter signed by the Commissioner.

“The troops that arrived were part of the normal rotation of military personnel that has been occurring since the deployment of the mission in 2003.”

Mr McDermott said the policing plan for Operation Parliament had been developed as a joint PPF-SIPF exercise which had been signed off by Commissioner Khan two days before Parliament commenced.

“On the same day Commissioner Kahn also wrote to me formally requesting the assistance of the PPF and RAMSI’s military contingent,” Mr McDermott said.

“It is therefore very puzzling to me, that the Commissioner should have signed a letter suggesting the opposite,” Mr McDermott said.

He said contrary to the claims in the letter, the Commissioner had as early as June 21 been provided with a detailed written and oral briefing from the then head of the PPF, Commander Will Jamieson.

Commissioner Khan and Commander Jamieson then signed a detailed Service Agreement between the Solomon Islands Police Force and the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands’ Participating Police Force regarding the call out of Participating Police Force and Combined Task Force (military) to assist the Solomon Islands Police Force.

Mr McDermott said that since his arrival he had also prepared a briefing both for the Commissioner and for the Cabinet if they so required.

“Unfortunately Mr Khan has chosen to leave the country for 17 days so the briefing will now have to take place on his return,” Mr McDermott said.

Another assertion in the Commissioner’s letter that 30 AFP officers from Queensland were being dispatched to review ‘riot cases which had failed in court’ was also completely untrue Mr McDermott said.

“There are no officers due to come from Queensland into the mission at this time and we have no plans to review the riot cases.

“What has been agreed in consultation with the commissioner is that some of the police due in from the Victorian Police Force will concentrate on reviewing unresolved cases from the ethnic tensions and other matter such as sexual exploitation of Solomon Island children.

“Again, as on all of the above matters, I have consulted the Commissioner in detail,” Mr McDermott said.

Source: RAMSI

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