Commissioner: Our police force goes from strength to strength

Vanuatu Police Force’s India Alpha 40th Independence Anniversary Operation 2020 kicks off on Wednesday.

The India Alpha operation will provide security during the festivities with police playing a major role to ensure the Independence Anniversary on 30 July and lead-up events are peaceful and orderly.

Vanuatu’s Acting Police Commissioner Colonel Robson Iavro says, “Today as we launch the operation of India Alpha, I want to remind all police men and women throughout Vanuatu that we must always remember and acknowledge the work and commitment of our forefathers and mothers who ensured that we have a Republic of Vanuatu that is independent.”

“We as the current serving members of the Vanuatu Police Force must be proud and thankful for the work [our forebears] have done to achieve our independence,” Colonel Iavro said.

Colonel Iavro says,“As we carry out operation India Alpha, our communities expect us to be professional when carrying out our duties.”

Around 300 Vanuatu Police Force members will provide tight security during the festivities around Vanuatu, and the Acting Police Commissioner says they will ensure order and discipline is strong during the Independence Anniversary celebrations.

The Vanuatu Police Force has promoted 64 force members in Port Vila to higher ranks and another ten members serving in other islands will be promoted soon.

Acting Commissioner Iavro says the Vanuatu Police Force has started 2020 on a high note. The force participated in the COVID-19 operation, the country’s General Election, the Cyclone Harold disaster operation and the recent repatriation of Vanuatu citizens overseas.

“I want to acknowledge everyone for their hard work, commitments and the time given to the tasks we have carried out,” he said.

He says in the last 40 years; the Vanuatu Police Force has grown from strength to strength, with the number of police men and women doubling in that time.

“Last year we witnessed over 200 recruitments of police officers. This year we have witnessed the roll out of the remaining 50 officers,” he said.

“Our target is for the force to have 900 police men and women. Hopefully in the next two years we will achieve this.

“In the last 40 years we have managed to build six provincial police stations throughout Vanuatu. As we speak, the last work on the Lakatoro Police Station in Malekula is taking place and we look forward to its opening soon.”

He says in the last 40 years; the police have built 12 police posts on the islands of Vanuatu.

“However, we do not have police posts in all islands as yet. This needs to be addressed in the coming years. Next year, we are looking forward to building a police post in Erromango, Gaua in the Banks Group and on Epi Island,” he said.

He says this exercise will continue to roll out to ensure police posts are built on all islands in Vanuatu.

Colonel Iavro says, the Government plans to undertake a review of the Vanuatu Police Force. The last review was undertaken in 1997 to 1999.

“The review should guide our future decisions on how we operate the Vanuatu Police Force. It will drive the Vanuatu Police Force’s strategic plan for the next five years, determine the structure of the force and should inform us on what the force’s capability requirements will be and the posture of the Vanuatu Police Force for the next 40 years.”

Colonel Iavro says recently the police force has been in talks with Vanuatu’s security partners on new infrastructure projects such as the upgrade of the Mala Base and the Cook Barracks in Port Vila and the Andrewass facility in Santo.

Mr Iavro says the force’s security partners are the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Government through its policing programs, the New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police, the People’s Republic of China, France, the United States and all countries providing continuous support.

He hopes in 2021 the Vanuatu Mobile Force will have two more watercraft.

Colonel Iavro says in the last 30 years the police force has added two patrol vessels to its marine patrol operations –MV Tukoro and MV Turoroa.

He says Vanuatu’s Exclusive Economic Zone is bigger than its land mass, which is a policing issue that needs to be addressed in the years to come.

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