- 6,49 €
Policing a Clash of Cultures,’ is written by the former Commissioner of Police in the Solomon Islands, Frank Short, who tells the tragic story of the period of what is now known as the 'tensions' in the Solomons.
His hands on knowledge of how the debacle first began; how intelligence which he accurately assessed and presented to regional governments was ignored; allegedly leading to a failed state; the deaths of many civilians; the displacement of thousands.
Until now, explanations of what really happened have relied too much on analyses of the local and often distorted foreign media reports.
Frank Short was a popular and successful Police Commissioner with extensive, prior, colonial policing experience. Past service which helped him understand, appreciate and know local customs and sensitivities.
The book records well, how disparate tribal dissatisfactions’ came together so disastrously and how the civil conflict could have been prevented if regional governments had had the will and the belief in a right to protect a neighbouring state.
Frank Short claims that by Australia and New Zealand remaining as passive witnesses, allowing what started as a low intensity civil conflict fermented by a few insurgents; urged on by the then Solomon's Parliamentary Opposition, facilitated the situation turn into a full blown humanitarian crisis: which led to the downfall of the democratically elected government and the resignation of the then Prime Minister – at gunpoint.
The internal security situation in the Solomon’s became a security concern for Australia only when the Prime Minister, John Howard, stated:
“Failed States present a dangerous breeding ground for crime and terrorism.”
In 2003, nearly five years after the internal conflict first began the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) consisting of several Pacific Island states, arrived in the Solomons, led by Australia, with New Zealand support, a huge transfer of military assets, including over 2000 military personnel, police and equipment in the first phase of the intervention operation. This intervention quickly brought the internal insurgency to an end.
However RAMSI still remains in the Solomons some eleven years later.
Short’s book makes the case that there was a precedent in International law for a much earlier intervention and he dismisses the claim that the Solomon Islands posed a threat to Australia from the risk of terrorism off its shores.
In a report recently published in June 2014 in Australia by the Lowly Institute, an Independent, nonpartisan policy think tank located in Sydney and rated as Australia’s leading think tank providing high-quality research and perspectives on international trends shaping Australia and the world, the same claim over the potential for terrorism is debunked and the report also described support for RAMSI since 2003 as A2.4 billion as a massive sum disproportionate to Australia and that, from the start, the Mission had no clearly defined exit strategy.
The cost of providing Australian Federal Police (AFP) assistance through the auspices of RAMSI in the same period is said to have cost A$1.5 billion, but when Short turned to the AFP for help for the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force at the onset of his appointment as the Commissioner of Police, he was effectively shown the door, unlike help he received from the Singapore Police with training in community policing.
Readers will find this book is not just an interesting history, but also an invaluable text for those tasked to police small states in the Pacific and beyond.