The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) has been a male dominated organisation since it was established in 1954, but efforts are now in place to change this around with the endorsement of the Gender Strategy 2019 – 2021.
So why a Gender Strategy and what are the goals or the focus of this Strategy?
Female officers currently make up 24 percent of the entire workforce of the RSIPF.
The RSIPF Gender Strategy contributes to the Force’s value of ‘embracing diversity including gender equality’ as part of its Strategic Directions 2017 – 2020.
Along with the moral and ethical responsibility that the RSIPF has as role models for the community, the Force has an obligation to support the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 as well as under the Women Peace and Security Solomon Islands National Action Plan.
“The RSIPF is committed to providing a safe, secure and peaceful country for all and to do this we must build strong engagement with the community. Increasing and extending the role of women in the RSIPF can be expected to improve confidence, build trust and enhance the legitimacy of police within Solomon Islands,” says Acting Commissioner, Mostyn Mangau, whose wife is a female police officer.
He adds: “The mission of our Gender Strategy is to improve gender equality to create a workplace that actively values and supports women in all aspects of policing to build a strong and professional police force for all RSIPF officers. This Strategy must not be seen as benefitting female officers only but it’s for the benefit of the entire Force.”
“This Strategy is the RSIPF framework for quickly achieving change for gender equality. By improving gender equality within the RSIPF, we are actively and positively contributing to a better Solomon Islands. We strive to be a cohesive police force that is strong, professional and has the confidence of the community. To achieve this, the RSIPF must create an inclusive workplace that actively supports and values the contributions of all officers, including female officers in all aspects and levels of policing,” says Acting Commissioner Mangau
Briefly the Strategy, has four key focus areas including:
- Develop, monitor and enforce policies and processes which removes obstacles to full participation.
- An inclusive leadership mindset is present and practiced at every level.
- Female officers are provided opportunity to develop skills and confidence for progress.
- To strength and maximize support mechanisms for female police officers.
As part of the first phase of the implementation of the Gender Strategy, the RSIPF has recently appointed, for the first time, a Gender Coordinator in the name of Staff Sergeant Alice Roteku, who will be based at the Rove Police Headquarters in Honiara.
“As a police officer since 2001, I am honoured to have been appointed as the RSIPF’s first Gender Coordinator. I know it will be a challenge for me but my immediate priority now is to advocate for the Strategy not just among my female colleagues but also among my brother male officers,” says Staff Sergeant Roteku.
She adds: “I will be working very closely with the RSIPF Women Advocate Network (WAN) to strengthen and maximize mechanisms for female officers but at the same time I will also work to promote awareness of, and support for the Gender Strategy’s agenda and initiatives amongst my female colleagues and brothers in the RSIPF.”
“My immediate task now is to tour the provinces to meet with both my female and male colleagues to inform them about my role and the Gender Strategy. And of cause I will be open to any suggestions as to how to advance the role of women in policing in our communities,” says Staff Sergeant Roteku.