Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Collective effort needed for a safer Fiji: Seruiratu

Leader of Opposition, Inia Seruiratu says upholding national discipline and respect for law and order should be a collective effort if we are to ensure a more secure and safer Fiji.

In light of the increase in crime and drug cases in the country, Seruiratu said the January statistics released by Police showed an overall increase of 10 per cent and what is even more alarming is the increase in the crime against women by 31 per cent.

“To top it all off we are now informed that drug cases rose by an astronomical 94 per cent and this is a serious concern because majority of the cases are within our communities, in Fiji itself amongst the people we interact with every day.”

“We must acknowledge the reality of our fight against drugs, as one of the developing
countries and being the hub of the Pacific, we are vulnerable to these issues.”

He said drugs will continue to be a huge crisis and the war against it will not be easy.

“We need to find avenues of how we can improve our capacity to fight drugs because we will continue to see an influx due to its lucrative price.”

“As much as we want to work together; there is also a very critical need for our Police
officers to honor their role in upholding the law of this country and ensuring there is
transparency and accountability within the force.”

“Last month alone we have seen cases where drug evidence was allegedly tampered with in two Police Stations in the country and cases of alleged Police brutality.”

“We need to remind our officers, that maintaining law and order and national discipline starts within the force itself in ensuring there is no corruption and at the same time safeguarding the integrity of the Fiji Police Force.”

Seruiratu said this is not an issue to be taken lightly and the duty of Police Officers always come under the critical observation of the people because of the role they play.

“There has been a call from the former Assistant Commissioner of Police that the current Acting Police Commissioner should be surrounded by experienced people. I totally agree with this statement.”

“However as soon as this Government came into being they removed officers with extensive experience and proven records for no apparent reason.”

“They also replaced them with people who do not have the same level of experience
or expertise. They have basically shot themselves in the foot.”

He said maintaining law and order and at the same time trying to fight crime and combat the smuggling of illicit drugs should be a joint effort.

“It is vital that we ensure the effective collaboration between various religious bodies,
denominations, relevant stakeholders, communities, and the Government of the day.”

“I commend the work of the Fiji Police Force for what they are trying to do to fight drugs however we need to re-look at our social structure where we can instill discipline starting from our very own families and various communities.”

“This is not the time to play the blame game because the recent hike in drug busts
and crime rate urgently needs our collective attention.”

He added that we need to urgently engage religious leaders, the Vanua and various community leaders because we cannot deny the fact that the Fiji Police Force needs as much help as they can get to curb the increase in crime against women and the peddling of illicit drugs.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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