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EDITORIAL: Health Audit Will Lead To Positive Outcome For Police

A health audit finding of unfit or sick Police offic­ers is a matter of serious concern. The Police Commissioner, Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho, must be commended for taking the ini­tiative to
14 Dec 2018 11:03
EDITORIAL: Health Audit Will Lead To Positive Outcome  For Police
Editorial

A health audit finding of unfit or sick Police offic­ers is a matter of serious concern.

The Police Commissioner, Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho, must be commended for taking the ini­tiative to conduct the audit.

The next step, if it has not already been done, is to chal­lenge those who can change and get back to the required fitness level to lift their fitness within a timeframe.

Others, who simply cannot hack it, are to be released on sickness benefit, using the internal procedures on the issue.

This will open the way for more recruitment to fill va­cancies. Simultaneously, the fitness code is to be strictly enforced.

This will lower the pressure because the burden of en­forcing the law is shouldered evenly across the force.

The pressure created by an unfit and sick force has been falling squarely on those who are fit. That pressure will be evenly shared when the standards are raised to where they should be.

This problem is not confined to the Fijian Police only. It afflicts many Police forces in several countries.

In Britain, a total of 1430 officers failed a health test this year according to responses to a Freedom of Information request. This comes after debate raged over controver­sial unprecedented planned cutbacks in frontline polic­ing.

The data does not include the figures from the country’s largest force, the Metropolitan Police which has more than 32,000 officers.

If they were taken into account the total number of frontline staff who fall short of minimum standards would be over 2350.

It was found Police officers used to walk the beat which would keep them naturally fit.

But then panda cars were introduced and officers start­ed doing more paperwork and overall there’s been a ma­jor decline in fitness.

With more vehicles and motorbikes now being given to the Fijian Police, the danger is that they will take over from walking the neighbourhoods in their beats. And if they fail to exercise and watch what they eat they will eventually fail the fitness test.

There needs to be close monitoring to ensure that offic­ers are keeping their fitness level up.

Basically, policing is a physical job and officers must be fit to do it.

How are they supposed to catch a criminal if they can’t run?

The health audit was a reality check for the Police. There is no doubt there has been a negative impact on Police operations prior to the audit because of the offic­ers’ health problems. Public confidence would have also been affected.

But we can all look forward to the future with optimism because of the positive measures now being introduced by Brigadier-General Qiliho.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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