Editorial comment – A greater force behind

Minister for Defence, National Security and Policing, Rural and maritime development and disaster management Inia Seruiratu with the Acting Commissioner of Police, Ruistae Tudravu. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

Defence Minister Inia Seruiratu says the Fiji Police Force is looking intently to community leaders to assist them in the fight against crime.

While closing the two-day Community Policing Symposium in Lautoka recently, he said police officers no longer fought crime alone. This has to be a statement we should take to heart.

In a world that has developed in leaps and bounds in terms of communication, trends, and technology, we are reminded about the emphasis that must be placed on security.

Crime then will be placed on a high pedestal when we scrutinise the impact it can have on our lives.

For starters, the COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible impression on millions of people around the world.

It hasn’t left us. The rising numbers in terms of infected people, deaths, and variants continue to be a concern.

We have not been immune to the negative impact of this virus. It has virtually crippled many economies, crushed the livelihood of millions of people, reduced the take-home pay of many more, and thrown millions into the abyss so to speak.

Suffering economies have obviously noticed hunger, and people struggling to put food on their table.

Subsequently sceptics will have to consider the potential for a link to crime and instability on the home front, at the community and national level.

In the face of what appears at first to be a gloomy outlook, we are buoyed by the need to strengthen our police force.

The focus on engaging collaboration at the community level is positive.

Mr Seruiratu, while talking on a different platform, does raise the issue of renewed confidence and trust.

“We should, therefore, be aware that we have a role to play in fighting crime.

It is not only Government and law enforcement agencies that need to be concerned. The public sector, businesses, the private sector and even ordinary citizens must play a role in combating crime,” he said at the symposium.

He was concerned about some of the criminal activities committed and patterns observed by the force.

“The questions that I normally ask are who are responsible for reducing these crimes or who do we rely on to fight against crime and how we can improve our performance to eradicate these criminal activities.”

He said this was where community policing was needed.

“We have partnered to promote best practices because communities are strongest when they are working together and law enforcement works best when it has a close relationship with the community.”

There can be no doubts about the link that must be forged between the community and the force.

The force needs our support to be effective against criminals.

It needs our support to fight crime and bring about peace and security for every Fijian.

Whatever Mr Seruiratu said makes sense when we consider the positive impact it can have on our lives moving forward.

But it all starts from within each one of us. We must be catalysts for change. That begins with us first.

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