RNZ 6:32 pm on 28 July 2020
The Solomon Islands has appointed a local police commissioner for the first time in 19 years.
Commissioner Mostyn Mangau was sworn-in on Friday by the Governor-General Sir David Vunagi.
He had been acting in the role since November last year when his predecessor Matthew Varley’s tenure ended.
Solomon Islands police commissioner Mostyn Mangau taking his oath of affirmation before governor general Sir David Vunagi. Photo: Royal Solomon Islands Police Force
Speaking at his swearing in ceremony Mangau, who is from Ontong Java in Malaita Province, said he was humbled by the new opportunity to serve Solomon Islanders.
His appointment is significant in Solomon Islands’ historical context given the breakdown of public trust in the police during bloody civil unrest in the late nineties and early 2000s in Solomon Islands, a period known as the Ethnic Tensions or simply the Tensions.
During this period police weapons and resources, most of them stolen, were used in the fighting and some police officers took sides in the conflict joining local militia in terrorising citizens.
A regional assistance mission sanctioned by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders and led by Australia and New Zealand helped restore law and order and start Solomon Islands recovery.
Commonly referred to locally by its acronym RAMSI the mission also helped rebuild the local police force from the ground up starting by laying off most of the officers who played an active role in the conflict.
Mostyn Mangau said his appointment reflected all the hard work that had been put into that rebuild.
“My appointment as Commissioner is an expression of the confidence our Government and people have in the more than 1,500 officers in the RSIPF.
“We have come a long way since the dark days of the social unrest which brought not only the country but also its police force to its knees.”
Mangau also appealed to all police officers and to the national and provincial governments, community leaders, women and youth and all citizens of Solomon Islands to support him in his new role.
“With your support and through the hands of our Almighty God we will continue to maintain the Hapi Isles status that our beloved nation has become known throughout the region and the world,” Mostyn Mangau said.
Solomon Islands Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau had been acting in the role since the departure of his predecessor Matthew Varley in November 2019. Photo: Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry
A government statement announcing Commissioner Mangau’s appointment said he joined the police force in July 1996 and has held several executive positions before being appointed as Commissioner including:
- Acting Commissioner from 28 November 2019 to 22 July 2020
- Deputy Commissioner (National Security and Operation Support) 20 September 2019
- Assistant Commissioner (National Capital and Crime Prevention) 2016
- Assistant Commissioner (National Operations) 2017 – 2019
- Provincial Police Commander (Guadalcanal Province) 2016 – 2017
- Commissioner Mangau has undertaken leadership training at both the Australian Institute of Police Management and the Royal New Zealand Police College and holds Certificates in Leadership Development
- Additional Australian based training includes the Australian Federal Police Command, Control and Coordination course and Australian Government Counter Terrorism Intelligence training in Risk Management
- Commissioner Mangau also holds a Certificate in Security Studies obtained at the Pacific Centre for Security Studies and a Certificate in Disaster Management (Hawaii). He has also undertaken international training courses in Jakarta (maritime safety and security programme) and Taiwan (national security)