Sunvoice

EDITORIAL: Vanuabalavu Brutality Allegations Serious Cause For Concern

Clamping down on reports and allegations of Police brutality is a constant challenge for Fiji and many other countries. The latest allegation was reported from Vanuabalavu, Lau, on July 18
22 Jul 2015 11:02
EDITORIAL: Vanuabalavu Brutality Allegations Serious Cause For Concern

Clamping down on reports and allegations of Police brutality is a constant challenge for Fiji and many other countries.

The latest allegation was reported from Vanuabalavu, Lau, on July 18 with pictures purporting to show the consequences of the alleged acts.

A Police team from Suva will board the first available flight to Vanuabalavu to investigate the case.

If reports are true about the beating of the 43-year-old father of three from Mavana village then justice must be served.

Some children from the same village were alleged to have been assaulted by Police in front of other students.

Police are already feeling the pressure of not apprehending the alleged Nakasi rapists of a nine-year old. The adverse publicity related to this latest allegation will not help their reputation.

The Constitution is very clear about the rights of Fijians. Police officers should be reminded of the Bill of Rights Section 11 (1) and (2).

(1) Every person has the right to freedom from torture of any kind, whether physical, mental or emotional, and from cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment.

(2) Every person has the right to security of the person, which includes the right to be free from any form of violence from any source, at home, school, work or in any other place.

A question that pops up is the type of training our Police officers go through.

It is generally up to Police officers to weigh whether they are being threatened, whether bystanders are being threatened, and what force the suspect is using to resist arrest, experts say. The goal is to get a suspect to “comply” — to be subdued enough not to resist arrest.

Police officers should be reminded that members of the public have high expectations on them.

Commissioner Ben Groenewald had said he would not condone abuse of power by any of his officers.

A social worker said: “There is no denying that Police everywhere have an incredibly difficult job. They face immense pressure on a day-to-day basis and the amount of restraint they need to exercise with unruly people is taxing. These difficulties acknowledged, it is their job to show restraint and demonstrate their faith in the judicial system of the country they serve. It is their job to act as role models for the people, and it is their job not to abuse their positions of power and authority.”

Police should be reminded that we are not anti-Police, we are anti-Police brutality.

 

 

Feedback:  maikabt@fijisun.com.fj

 


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