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In memory of the fallen

Fred Wesley
Friday, September 30, 2016

Yesterday the Fiji Police Force remembered 13 of its officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in the past year.

Police officers and their families came together for special Remembrance Day events at stations around the country.

They were reminded that of the 13 police officers who died in the line of duty over the past year, 11 died of lifestyle diseases.

Reading the death rollcall at the Labasa Police Station yesterday, Inspector Senimili Vakatale revealed that two other police officers died in road accidents.

The other causes of death included heart, kidney and spinal complications.

Following the reading of the rollcall, the 13 officers were remembered with a moment of silence.

As our report on Page 4 today reveals, police chief operations officer ACP Rusiate Tudravu said Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho has expressed concern over the health of some officers.

ACP Tudravu revealed the force would strengthen the mandatory fitness level of officers.

A health audit is also expected soon.

It is clear that lifestyle diseases are a major concern for the force.

Speaking during Remembrance Day in Suva, Minister for Defence and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said it was worrying to note a trend linking the deaths of officers to lifestyle choices.

For what it is worth though, yesterday was also about acknowledging the contribution of families and friends. It was also about acknowledging the support base of the force. In the wake of a number of shocking crimes around the country recently, the commissioner, now more than ever, needs the support of his officers and of the public.

It is with this show of support that a strong and vibrant force can take shape.

As we have said before, sceptics will insist it is a foregone conclusion that officers must do their best for the force. Those who don't, or fail to adhere to the rules and regulations that bind an officer of the law must make way for men and women who can.

The men and women of the Fiji Police Force shoulder a responsibility that far outweighs any expectation they may have come in with. They are reflections of society.

They carry the hopes and aspirations of people who believe there is a place for law and order.

They are beacons of hope.

They ensure there is a balance in society and in our lives.

It isn't easy to produce officers who will go on to serve as strong advocates of peace, harmony and stability.

There will be obstacles that will sometimes cloud their judgment, tempt them to abuse their powers and go against everything they have been taught at the training academy at Draiba in Suva. But there are many officers who will stand up against these phases in their career.

These are our special breed of men and women who will stand up for the long arm of the law.

Yesterday was a very special day for many reasons.

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