Royal Solomon Islands Police Force

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) is the national police force of Solomon Islands and in January 2015 had an establishment of approximately 1,153 officers and 43 police stations across the country.

Royal Solomon Islands Police Force
MottoTo provide a safe and peaceful Solomon Islands by strengthening relationships with the community
Agency overview
Formedca. 1974 [1]
Preceding agencies
  • Solomon Islands Police Force (1954) [1]
  • Solomon Islands Defence Force (1940) [1]
Jurisdictional structure
National agencySolomon Islands
Operations jurisdictionSolomon Islands
Governing bodyPolitics of the Solomon Islands
General nature
HeadquartersHoniara, Solomon Islands
Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services responsible
  • Hon. Stanley Festus Sofu[2]
Agency executive
  • Matthew Varley[1], Commissioner of Police
Royal Solomon Islands Police Website

The Solomon Islands has no military organisation with this provided in the past by the abolished paramilitary wing of the RSIPF known as the Police Field Force (later Special Task and Rescue).[3][4] The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) is planned to withdraw in June 2017 handing full control over to the RSPIF.[5]


  • 1893- The British Solomon Islands Protectorate was established and in 1899 encompassed the German Solomon Islands.[1][6][7][8][9][10]
  • 1922- Protectorate constabulary strength increased to 153 officers by 1922.[1]
  • 1940- During the war, most police became Coastwatchers including the heroic Jacob C. Vouza [1][11]
  • 1945- The armed Constabulary was reconstituted following the war.[1]
  • 1950- The police band was formed [1]
  • 1954- A Queen’s Regulation issued renamed the force as the Solomon Islands Police Force - approved establishment was eight commissioned officers and 200 sub-officers and constables.[1]
  • 1974- All police stations were linked by a radio network.[1]
  • 1975- John Holloway is appointed the first RSIPF Commissioner of Police in July 1975. He served as commissioner until 1982.
  • 1978- ‘Royal’ was added to the title of the police force.[1]
  • 2003- Between 1998 and 2003 unresolved land issues lead to significant civil conflict, the tensions, and a major break-down of law and order. On the request of the Governor-General, an international response was organised, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), led by Australia, which restored peace arriving on the 24 July 2003.[12] The RSIPF was disarmed following the ethnic conflict, and RAMSI temporarily provided the armed policing and response capability. RAMSI subsequently rebuilt local capacity in the areas of police, corrections and justice and gradually transferred its powers to local authorities.[13]
  • 2013- The Military Component of RAMSI (Combined Task Force-CTF) withdrew in mid 2013 and by January 2015 the police component of RAMSI had reduced to approximately 152 officers.[1]
  • 2014- Following Cyclone Ita RSIPF provided a lead response where an estimated 52,000 people were affected by floods and 23 people tragically lost their lives. Initially over 10,000 people were displaced and relocated in 30 evacuation centres, largely in Honiara. Approximately 2,000 people required longer-term assistance as a result of lost or severely damaged homes.[1]
  • 2015- Efforts underway to rearm the RSIPF.[14][15][16][17]


The RSIPF is headed by the Commissioner for Police who report to the Minister of Police, National Security, Correctional Services. Historically, several Commissioners have been expatriates under contract. On 22 December 2006, an Australian Federal Police officer, Shane Castles, then serving as the Commissioner under a contract funded by the Australian government was declared by the Solomon Islands Government to be an "undesirable immigrant" while he was out of the country and was not allowed to return.[18]

The RSIPF structure includes two Deputy Commissioners. The Deputy Commissioner Operations manages the portfolios of 'National Capital and Crime Prevention' and 'Provincial Policing', both of which are supervised by Assistant Commissioners. The Deputy Commissioner National Security and Operations Support managed the portfolios of 'National Operations' and 'Corporate Support', again both of which are supervised by Assistant Commissioners.

The RSIPF Police Media Unit reports directly to the Chief of Staff. The RSIPF website,, was launched on 14 August 2015 and provides a range of information on RSIPF structure and units, as well as official publications including Annual reports.

The RSIPF Professional Standards and Internal Investigations Unit monitors police discipline and performance.

The Solomon Islands Government has approved the staged, limited rearmament of the RSIPF including the Police Response Unit, Close Personal Protection Unit and Aviation Policing.[19][20]

Under the Police Act 2013, the RSIPF is also responsible for Fire services and maintains a Fire Service in Honiara and the major provincial capitals.

The RSIPF Maritime Department provides the RSIPF's maritime capability and conducts operational patrols and patrols of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Solomon Islands Borders for fisheries, immigration and national security purposes. RSIPF Maritime operate the two Pacific-class patrol boats Lata (03) and Auki (04) supplied by Australia under the Pacific Patrol Boat Program as well as a range of smaller vessels.

Australia started delivering Guardian class patrol vessels to replace the Patrol class vessels in 2018.[21] Australia committed to provide two new vessels to replace the RSIPF vessels. Police Commissioner Matthew Varley announced, on January 26, 2019, that expansion of the Police Force's mooring space, to accommodate the larger Guardian class vessels, would be undertaken in 2019.[22]

List of RSIPF Commissioners

Name Term of Office Notes
Start End
John Holloway August 1975 1982
Sir Fred Soaki 1982 1995
Morton Sireheti 1995 1997
Frank Short CBE July 1997 June 1999
Rererangi Hika 1999 2000
Morton Siriheti July 2000 December 2002
Bill Morrell (UK) 28 January 2003 March 2005 [23][24]
Shane Castles (AFP) April 2005 December 2006 [24][25]
(vacant) December 2006 15 May 2007 [25]
Mohammed Jahir Khan (Fiji) 15 May 2007 May 2008 [25]
Peter Marshall (acting) (NZ) May 2008 March 2009
Peter Marshall March 2009 7 February 2011
Walter Kola (Acting) 7 February 2011 2 May 2012
John Lansley (UK) 2 May 2012 2 May 2013
Juanita Matanga (Acting) 3 May 2013 29 August 2014
Frank Prendergast (AFP) 29 August 2014 25 January 2017 [26]
Matthew Varley (AFP) 25 January 2017 Present [27]


  1. "Royal Solomon Islands Police Force". Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  2. "Parliament of Solomon Islands". Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  3. Fraenkel, Madraiwiwi & Okole, Jon, Joni & Henry (14 July 2014). "The RAMSI Decade: A Review of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomons Islands, 2003-2013" (PDF). Retrieved 11 March 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. "Elite division with Solomon Island Police Force to be abolished". Radio New Zealand. 17 November 2003. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  5. "RAMSI not leaving Solomons till June 2017". Radio New Zealand. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  6. "Solomon IslandsArticle Free Pass". Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  7. "Solomon Islands". Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  8. "British Solomon Islands Protectorate c.1906–1947 (Solomon Islands)". Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  9. "UK and Solomon Islands". Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  10. "U.S. Relations With the Solomon Islands". Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  11. Toland, John. The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945 p 366 Random House New York 1970
  12. "About RAMSI - Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands". Retrieved 2015-08-25.
  13. "Australian Government" (PDF). Civil Military working paper 4/2010. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  14. "The draw down strategy". Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  15. "Malaita provincial assembly supports Govt's decision on staged limited re-amament of RSIPF". Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  16. "Police heads to help in rearmament process". Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  17. "R.S.I.P.F REARMAMENT RECEIVED COMMUNITY SUPPORT". Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  18. "Appointment of an Australian as Solomon Islands Police Chief". Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  19. "Reintroduction of firearms into RSIPF - Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands". Retrieved 2015-08-25.
  20. Tlozek, Eric (14 September 2016). "Solomon Islands police train to carry guns for first time in 13 years in 'limited rearmament'". ABC News. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  21. "RSIPF thank Australian gov't". Solomon Star News. 2018-06-15. Retrieved 2018-06-16. Commissioner Varley explains: “The new Guardian class of patrol boats will be much larger with increased capacity and extended range compared to the current Pacific class of patrol boats. This will be great especially for patrolling of Solomon Islands large maritime border.”
  22. "New wharf for new patrol boats". SIBC. 2019-01-26. Retrieved 2019-01-26. 'The new Guardian class patrol boat is some 10 meters longer, and bigger than the current patrol boats, it has a large spread of capabilities, and a much larger range of sailing,' he said. 'Its so big that we gonna have to upgrade the maritime base to fit it, and that work will go on this year.'
  23. "The Pacific's first failed state?". The Economist. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  24. "Australian set for top cop job". The Age. 6 April 2005. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  25. "Fijian is new Solomon's police chief". Nine News. 15 May 2007. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  26. "New Solomons Police Commissioner sworn in". Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  27. "RSIPF welcomes 13th police commissioner". Retrieved 28 January 2017.
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