NEWS

Independent Complaints Authority Will Help Public Confidence in Police

“It is vital that the public has trust and confidence in the police force and, by extension, the criminal justice system."
18 Jan 2021 12:27
Independent Complaints Authority Will Help Public Confidence in Police

The establishment of an independent police complaints authority will enhance public confidence in the Fiji Police Force.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde mooted the idea during the Fiji Police Force Command Group Retreat at the Pearl Resort, Deuba last Saturday  January 16, 2021.

He gave the example of New Zealand where an independent police complaints authority known as the Independent Police Conduct Authority has worked well and significantly altered the NZ public’s perception of the police.

“The establishment of such an authority in Fiji could be at minimal cost but would greatly enhance public confidence in the police. We must deal with bad police officers transparently and honestly.

“It is vital that the public has trust and confidence in the police force and, by extension, the criminal justice system. We must not be seen to be covering up for each other and we must be honest with the public when things go wrong.”

Currently, the Fiji Police Force has its own internal affairs department which deals with alleged wrongdoing by officers.

Mr Pryde said most officers are good, some are bad just as in any organisation.

“But we must not enable a culture where the public perceives us to be protecting our own.”

The Director of Public Prosecutions focused on three questions in his address:

  • What should we keep on doing?

We should keep on meeting regularly and this should be at all levels.

We should keep on communicating training needs.

We should keep on debriefing each other by communicating successes and problems from court.

We should keep on targeting the profit from crime.

  • What should we stop doing?

We should stop enabling bad police officers.

  • What should we start doing?

We should start improving the quality of the police docket.

Preserving exhibits in a fit state for trial and protecting the chain of custody from seizure to storage to trial.



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