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The Commissioner of Police,
Senior Officers,
Retirees and Families of the Force,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula vinaka and a very good morning.

I’m glad to be joining you all today –– a day that I have wholly dedicated to the Fiji Police Force, starting with the presentation of medals to the fine officers here this morning. I’ll go on to get a first-hand look at the wide range of capabilities that our Force is now equipped with –– the tools and techniques that are evolving the Force to better combat crime and keep pace with a more modern network of new-age threats to Fijian society. I’ll get an up-close view of the biology and chemistry lab, the pathology lab, and the Crime Scene Investigation unit, before going on to open the new 2.1 million-dollar Valelevu Police Station. I wanted to personally see every step of how our Force is both enforcing our laws and investigating crime, day in and day out. And I wanted to talk directly with those men and women in service to get a pulse for the needs of the Force straight from the source.

The stops on today’s itinerary will give me a look at new tools and facilities we’ve put at our officers’ disposal. Combined with other new and upgraded police outposts, new vehicles, and other recent investments, these are tangible signs of my Government’s resolute commitment to building a robust and modern Police Force –– one that has every resource it needs to root out crime wherever it exists and adapt to combat new criminal elements. But from new technologies to new buildings, none of this investment would matter if it wasn’t for the most important factor of all: You, the officers of this Force.

That recognition of the value of human capital has already been reflected in my Government’s allocation of resources to train and upskill existing officers, in addition to a nearly 25-million-dollar initiative announced in last year’s Annual Budget to regularise over 600 established positions. Our people-first approach to bolstering the Force has been ongoing for years now, and it’s starting to yield results –– over the last three years, crime has decreased by 11 per cent, with a 15 per cent decrease in crimes against women.

But every Fijian recognises the need for more work to be done. It seems that every time we open the newspaper, log onto Facebook, or turn on the news, we’re hit with a barrage of despicable stories of rape, of violence, and of drug use. But with each of these stories, there are untold stories of stopped crime and prevented abuse –– the unspoken successes of the Fiji Police Force. But for you, this isn’t about the glory; it’s all in a day’s work. That’s why I’m here today to recognise your accomplishments and, I hope, to inspire a new sense of resolve in creating a more lawful Fiji for our children to inherit.

To the medal recipients, I thank you for your hard work and dedication to cultivating a law-abiding society here in Fiji. These admirable officers exemplify dedication and commitment to their service, and are proud examples of what it takes to be true servants of the Fijian people.

And to all of those officers who embody the values of the Force, I salute you. Do not falter, and do not waver –– for the laws that you uphold are the very cornerstone of our nation, and it is through your service that we will build a better and more secure Fiji for all.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

© 2018 Ministry of Communications