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The International Law Enforcement Cooperation medal, minted by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

Police quest to find former Ramsi staff

There are 632 medals stored at Police National Headquarters waiting to be given to staff who served under the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (Ramsi), which ended in June 2017.

Police’s International Services Group (ISG) has been tasked with tracking down everyone who is eligible to receive the International Law Enforcement Cooperation (ILEC) medal, which is a slightly daunting task as many of those staff no longer work for Police.

The medals were minted by the Royal Solomon Islands Police force, keen to provide recognition for the New Zealand, Australian and Pacific Island police who were involved with Ramsi, which ran for 14 years.

The medals were created before the end of the mission, but were only sent to the respective countries last year.

Former Ramsi secondees who still work for Police will be easy enough to track down, says ISG deployment manager Inspector Emma Fleming, but she doesn’t want those who have left Police to miss out on receiving their medals, which will be distributed with an accompanying letter from Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

There is a proviso with the medals – they are to be held as mementos only, and not worn with Police uniforms or for ceremonial occasions.

As Emma explains, New Zealand has already recognised Solomon Islands service under Ramsi with the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM) and the New Zealand General Service Medal (NZGSM – Solomon Islands), so the Police Awards Committee decided against granting similar status to the ILEC medal.

The Ramsi mission was established when the Solomon Islands Government called on international assistance to eliminate corruption from its public institutions and help rebuild the country’s crumbling social and economic infrastructure.

Local police were struggling to restore order following civil unrest, and corrupt police members, so-called “special constables”, would frequently extort money from cabinet ministers with the use of high-powered military-style weapons stolen from the police armoury.

New Zealand police were deployed under Ramsi as part of an international force to help in the conviction and arrest of several corrupt members in top levels of police management.

Police continued to work as trainers and advisers to local police, including in the areas of family violence, community policing, CIB, traffic, general duties and mentoring roles for senior staff, helping to develop the capacity of the force to take over when Ramsi eventually withdrew.

New Zealand Police still has a presence in the Solomons under a bilateral programme with a mandate to support crime prevention strategies, distinct from the operational nature of Ramsi.

For more information, and to establish eligibility for the ILEC medal, email akash.sathaye@police.govt.nz.

All members and former members of New Zealand Police, and other police forces, who were seconded to the Solomons during Ramsi are eligible to receive the medal.

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