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Qiliho Explains Police Process It Undertook In Raiwai Sunday Attack

“While several officers from the Raiwaqa Police Barracks were trying to quell the situation, another team were pursuing the suspects who fled in another vehicle which was later found abandoned near Mead Road where two suspects were arrested”.
16 Aug 2022 10:05
Qiliho Explains Police Process It Undertook In Raiwai Sunday Attack
Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho.

The Commissioner of P0lice Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho has refuted claims against poor police response times in relation to the Raiwai incident on Sunday morning.

“Raiwaqa Police received a call for assistance at around 7.30am whereby officers attending to a report of a drunk and disorderly case at Jittu Estate were called back, and along the way picked up officers from Grantham Community Post and attended to the scene. A task force team from Nabua and Valelevu were also called in to reinforce efforts which were focused on more than just the arrest and detention of the suspects”.

Brigadier-General Qiliho added, “Upon arriving at the scene, uniformed officers attended to one of the suspects who had sustained serious injuries during the incident, and transported him to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital where he is still admitted”.

He stressed that at the same time a fire call was conducted at the Raiwaqa Police Barracks where officers in civilian clothing responded immediately, and they can also be seen in the video.

As soon as they arrived, their immediate action was to disperse bystanders and ensure that no one else was injured.

The damage to a vehicle as a result of the brawl in Raiwai, Suva on August 14, 2022.

The damage to a vehicle as a result of the brawl in Raiwai, Suva on August 14, 2022.

“While several officers from the Raiwaqa Police Barracks were trying to quell the situation, another team were pursuing the suspects who fled in another vehicle which was later found abandoned near Mead Road where two suspects were arrested”.

It was initially confirmed to members of the media that the initial responses were both on the incident at Raiwai, and in pursuit of the getaway vehicle”.

Despite confirmation of the two initial actions taken, the two daily newspapers criticised the response of Police in arriving at the scene, not realising or taking the time to understand the nature of policing which at that time was not solely focused on the arrest of the perpetrators, but on ensuring the safety of the many innocent bystanders, which Police officers residing at the Raiwaqa Police Barracks dressed in civilian clothing were heavily involved in.

 

Role of The Media

Brigadier-General Qiliho said the media plays an important role in such situations and it is important for reporters and editors to understand that situations are different, and responses will be different based on immediate needs on the ground as assessed by officers, rather than drawing assumptions.

He says it is easy for people to criticise efforts by Police and not appreciate that in certain situations, responses on the ground will determine the immediate actions to be adopted by responding officers, which in this case was not to directly approach the suspects who were allegedly armed, but to ensure the safety of the many bystanders who gathered in numbers which included women and children.

The Commissioner of Police has directed that all those involved be taken to task and said, “It has been confirmed that there were nine from Mead Road who came to Raiwai with the intention of instigating violence against a group of youths, and such actions by people who think it is acceptable to resort to violence to settle their grievances will not be condoned, and all those involved will be brought to justice”.

“The remaining six are known to Police, and officers from the Police Special Response Unit have been directed to arrest the six, and anyone who interferes or tries to prevent the arresting officers from doing their work will also be arrested”.

 

Brigadier-General Qiliho said, “If anybody knows their whereabouts, please let us know. All those involved in the incident yesterday will be taken to task and we are expecting to get more people in today.

The Fiji Police is concerned about media articles tagging the incident to a situation of lawlessness where there was absence of control and authority. Police were present and had taken all necessary measures to prevent other innocent civilians from getting hurt.

Residents of Raiwai were minding their own and enjoying their Sunday, and due to the selfish actions of a small group who think they are above the law, this incident occurred, and they will be held accountable for their cowardly actions.

We also call on parents, communities and Non-Government Organisations to play their part in the output space especially when the incident was triggered by the involvement of women and children.

Police are more than willing to assist by giving information on red zones where NGOs could have a more significant output.”

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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