Boosting ICT Capabilities of Fiji Police Force

October 5, 2022

Esteemed Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sami Surend.

New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner, Michelle Podmore.

Distinguished guests, participants, colleagues, and friends.  

Bula vinaka, namaste, salam alaikum and a very good morning to you all.

I am delighted to be here with you in person and I am pleased to share the stage with our prominent partners, senior decision makers and relevant authorities in the justice and security sector. 

I am especially delighted to be visiting the Fiji Police Force Academy - the learning place for both seasoned officers and the new generation of recruits that will look at serving the people of Fiji.  

At this juncture, I would like to take the time to thank the Commissioner of Police, for his continued support and partnership with UNDP under the Fiji Police Force Support Project. 

Sir, your stewardship, and vision under the project demonstrates the highest level of commitment to strengthening access to justice, the promotion of human rights and overall institutional strengthening. 

I also acknowledge the commitment of the Government of New Zealand, the New Zealand High Commission, and the New Zealand Police for their continued efforts to strengthening the key pillars of justice, rule of law and overall law enforcement capabilities in Fiji and across the region. 

Today, UNDP is pleased to be handing over ICT equipment to the Fiji Police Force. This equipment worth over US$100,000 encompasses Interactive Screens, Desktops, Laptops, Printers, and other devices that will go a long way towards boosting ICT capabilities of the Fiji Police Force.

I understand that the equipment will be distributed across the respective divisions of the Police Force and to areas that require the greatest support.

I also understand that most of the equipment that is being handed over today will be distributed to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), the Sexual Offence Unit (SOU) along with the Fiji Police Force Academy.

But this exercise is not simply about handing over equipment – its more than that. It’s about ensuring that Police Officers of today have proper access to the latest equipment and the latest technology that will assist them in the investigations, reporting and overall service delivery to communities across Fiji. 

We recognize the studies undertaken by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation which articulate that 72 percent of Fijian women are affected by some form of violence in their lifetime. Given this, the work that’s being done by the Sexual Offense Unit becomes pivotal to achieves and guarantee early access to justice and prevention on sexual gender-based violence for women and children. 

We are working together to enhance knowledge and built capacity to keep elevating the quality of service provided, with a survivor centered approach and to deliver successful investigations that help end impunity for sexual offense perpetrators.  

To that end, the project seeks to reaffirm its commitment to addressing the high rates of sexual and gender-based violence by equipping Sexual Offence Unit Officers with the necessary trainings, standard operating procedures, and the necessary equipment. 

UNDP has also supported the Fiji Police with the supply of advanced Video Recording of Investigations machines. This work is deeply rooted in prevention of torture and is strongly linked to enhancing transparency for the Fiji Police Force. 

I am told that the Officers that start using the video recorded interview equipment do not want to go back to the old method of writing down entire statements. What use to take an hour or more can simply be done in minutes with today’s technology. 

The laptops and desktops will be used by the team of transcribers under the Fiji Police Force to address the backlog of cases that are pending trail. 
I am extremely happy that the current stock of equipment handed over today will complement the video recorded interview machines and support officers of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in uplifting the culture of fairness and impartiality that is promoted when using such technology. 

This year, UNDP partnered with CID, SOU, and the Fiji Police Academy to provide much needed trainings in some of the remote locations across Fiji. I’m glad to hear that these trainings were facilitated collaboratively in Ovalau, Rotuma and Kadavu. 

It is therefore fitting that the Fiji Police Academy should also benefit from the handover of ICT equipment that will support them in facilitating further trainings to all divisions from where we are today. 

In particular, the interactive screen will create a platform of online access that will enable trainings, refreshers, consultations, and updates when there is a change to law. 

Let me say that all the work that is being done under the project would not be possible without the support of the Government of New Zealand, New Zealand High Commission, and the New Zealand Police. For that, we are all grateful. 
The handover of equipment to the Fiji Police Force is a significant milestone that showcases the momentum that is building towards strengthening the entire justice sector for the benefit of all Fijians. 

Thank you and vinaka vakalevu.