Solomon Islands has farewelled the 13th Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, Matthew Varley, MBE during a ceremony at the Rove Police Headquarters in Honiara today (29 November 2019).
During the ceremony witnessed by the Governor General Sir David Vunagi, Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare; Minister of Police, Hon. Anthony Veke; Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer as well as other dignatories and senior RSIPF officers from Honiara and the provinces as well as ranks and files, outgoing Commissioner Varley handed the ‘sword’ over to Acting Commissioner of Police, Mostyn Mangau.
H.E The Governor General Sir David swore in the Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr Mangau during a ceremony at Government House early today. A new Commissioner of Police to replace outgoing Commissioner Varley is yet to be announced.
In his final speech, which covered a wide range of issues including achievements during his three-year term, outgoing Commissioner Varley said:
“It has been the greatest honour of my professional life to serve as your Commissioner since 25 January 2017. Since my appointment I have had the privilege of working with many RSIPF officers and visiting most police stations, both in Honiara and the Provinces.
And I have been proud to lead these great officers, and contribute in some small way, at such a momentous period in history for Solomon Islands.
I have often said, that this police force is the NEW RSIPF. I say new, because we believe that the RSIPF has been re-built from the ground up since the dark days of our history back in Tension era of the early 2000’s.
Today, we are almost precisely two and a half years on from the end of RAMSI. But we in the RSIPF prefer not to reflect on to that period as the end of RAMSI.
Rather we say that it marked the start of the new chapter in our history, when our police force took back full responsibility for providing national security and law & order for Solomon Islands.
A new start.
And I am pleased to report that the RSIPF is in very good shape.
It is a well-trained, capable and effective organization, filled with talented officers who want to serve their nation, and led by committed and dedicated senior officers of integrity. I believe the RSIPF is now the best Police Force in the Pacific.”
In the achievements of the RSIPF during his tenure, outgoing Commissioner Varley said:
“We’ve had the rearmament of the RSIPF specialist teams including the PRT and CPP. We’ve successfully implemented the Crime Prevention Strategy and are about to launch the second generation version for the next few years.
We’ve implemented more than 85% of the Capability Plan’s 170 objectives to keep building the organization in so many areas. We’ve added 133 police positions to grow to our largest ever strength of 1554, while recruiting more than 210 new constables.
We’ve launched the first ever RSIPF Gender Strategy to improve the policing profession for women and recruited more women officers than ever before.
We’ve become a member of INTERPOL and are connected to international law enforcement. We’ve deployed officers to peacekeeping missions at the United Nations.
We’ve signed new MOUs of cooperation with PNG, Vanuatu and Australia to fight transnational crime in our region, and it bore results when we seized 500kg of cocaine in our harbor in 2018 and helped Australian authorities convict two Sydney based international drug traffickers.
We are now training other Pacific Police Forces to give back to our friends after they spend so many years when they helped us.
Most importantly, the RSIPF has kept the community safe and earned public trust, as particularly demonstrated during the testing period of the 2019 National General Election.
The National General Elections and the subsequent riots which occurred following the Prime Minister’s election were our greatest test yet. We must always remember that Polling Day on April 3rd was a tremendous success for us.
Voters turned out in record numbers and people in the community told us they felt it was the safest polling day since Independence.
But when the riots erupted on April 24th, the brave women and men of the RSIPF defended and secured our capital city. At the same time, we showed our expertise and cultural sensitivity by working with local communities to defuse tensions, engage our people and avert ongoing troubles.
This event, although we wish it had never happened, was stark proof to the people and Government of Solomon Islands that this police force is ready, capable and so courageously willing to do its job.
These successes do not come readily, nor are the battles easily won. They are the result of dogged hard work by our team.
Perhaps a few years ago, many people would have said that these achievements were possible, or that the RSIPF was not capable of such things.
We are proud to have proved them wrong.
The new RSIPF of today is a capable, modern, responsive and very well-run organization, due in no small part to the sheer commitment and hard work of all of my officers, along with a very committed and professional senior leadership team.
There is no doubt that the culture, capacity and capability of the RSIPF has continued to develop strongly over the last three years.
Much of this improvement has been due to our continual and unrelenting emphasis on developing accountable, values-based leadership within the senior executive team and across the police force.”
As a parting message to the more than 1400 police officers serving throughout Solomon Islands, Outgoing Commissioner Varley said:
Always Remember the RSIPF Values. Without them, we are nothing.
The future of the RSIPF – its performance, reputation and capability – rests with you all. Believe in yourselves and your ability as a team to achieve our mission. Together, you will drive the RSIPF forward.
Remember my three P rule:
Pride, performance and professionalism.”
Outgoing Police Commissioner Varley and his family leave Honiara tomorrow.