Senior Sergeant Darryl Lennane with a downed Japanese plane at Henderson Field, a World War 2 military airfield on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. Photo supplied.
A temperature difference of 27degC between Honiara and
Dunedin was just one of the noticeable changes for a Mosgiel
policeman on the beat in the South Pacific.
Senior Sergeant Darryl Lennane returned late last month from
a seven-month posting to the Solomon Islands, saying "it was
a great experience".
New Zealand police officers have the opportunity to apply for
overseas deployment, including working as part of the
Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (Ramsi).
Ramsi is a partnership between the Solomon Islands Government
and 15 Pacific countries, including New Zealand.
Snr Sgt Lennane said his Honiara-based role was one of
mentoring, training and advising local police.
"In the old days it was doing the job for the locals, then
doing the job with the locals, and now it is a case of
mentoring with the locals."
Local police resources were limited, presenting challenges
"Resources are extremely tight - they don't have many
vehicles and many of those aren't running. There is often no
petrol for vehicles or for boats to go to other islands and
investigate crime. Resources-wise, they are really
Officers dealt with similar offending to that seen in New
Zealand - alcohol, difficulties with unemployed youth and
However unlike New Zealand, police in the islands had fewer
problems with burglaries and thefts, he said.
During his time the island hosted the Duke and Duchess of
Cambridge, and the Oceania Football Confederation tournament.
Foreign police and army forces were based in the grandly
titled Guadalcanal Beach Resort, a beachfront compound.
Surrounded by barbed wire and protected by security guards,
the beachfront location did not lend itself to swimming, due
to the presence of large crocodiles.
A typical week's work was often between 40-50 hours,
Monday-Friday, with officers taking turns to be part of an
immediate response team to respond to any public disorder
For off-duty officers, the island offered some unique sites,
and was famous for its diving to WW2 wrecks.
"Some of the wrecks, such as a Japanese submarine, you can
snorkel over in a harbour over there."
He also visited Henderson Field, a former military airfield
on Guadalcanal, where visitors can see the remains of
Japanese aircraft, "and there are big bomb craters all over