Hon. Chief Justice
Deputy Police Commissioner
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions
Director of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission
Acting Director of the Legal Aid Commission
Acting British High Commissioner
Ms. Alison Eaton and Mr. Phil Stokoe of the UK College of Policing
Members of the media corps
Distinguished training participants, ladies and gentlemen:
A very good morning to you all!
It is a pleasure to be here this morning for the opening of the Fiji Police Force Training of Trainers in Specialist Investigative Interviewing, delivered by the United Kingdom College of Policing.
Bringing with them the most up-to-date UK police protocols and approved professional practices, the trainers from the UK College of Policing will deliver the training based on the College’s specialist interviewing course, contextualised to meet the responsibilities and needs of duty-bearers and rights-holders in Fiji.
The training aims to give investigators a better understanding of the knowledge, skills and abilities required to conduct professional and ethical interviews with victims, witnesses and suspects, particularly children and vulnerable persons.
The initiative to conduct the training arose as a result of the Fiji Police Force endorsed recommendations of the 2017 UK Study Tour and the Training of Trainers in Investigative Interviewing, both of which were supported under UNDP’s Pacific Security Sector Governance project.
This training together with the recent successful Fiji Police Force study tour to the UK provides an opportunity to consider further initiatives to improve access to justice for Fijians and in particular, vulnerable victims and witnesses.
The Fiji Police Force’s demonstrated commitment to ensuring access to justice for all Fijians to include vulnerable persons serves to contribute to Fiji’s realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These efforts respond to the justice needs of Fijians – in particular, the most vulnerable – and serve to significantly support realization of SDGs 16 and 5.
Indeed, the Fiji Police Force must be congratulated for pushing the boundaries to reach the most vulnerable and those who are the furthest behind. In addition, the recent training of recruits in early access to justice at the Fiji Police Academy provides a strong foundation for a Force that protects in cognizance of people’s rights and serves without bias or discrimination.
I understand that the training this week will provide another opportunity for curriculum development – this time, in specialist investigative interviewing – and UNDP is delighted to once again partner with the Fiji Police Force, generating maximum benefit from this valuable training.
Justice stakeholder collaboration
The initiatives and activities undertaken as part of the Pacific Security Sector Governance project are such that they require consistent partnership and collaboration among the Fiji Justice Stakeholders.
It is that fruitful partnership between the Judicial Department, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Fiji Police Force, the Legal Aid Commission and Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, that has resulted in the successful implementation of initiatives under the project – namely, the Pilot of the First Hour Procedure and Video Recorded Interviews – and progress under the UN Convention Against Torture.
Moreover, similar to previous collaborative training events, I note that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is assisting in the facilitation of this training, ensuring due contextualisation of the course material and further strengthening the collaborative efforts of the justice stakeholders.
I wish the participants a productive training and much success in the future as they apply the skills gained to the benefit of the most vulnerable. Best of luck and be assured of the critical importance of your work.
I would like to extend our gratitude to the British High Commission in Suva and the UK College of Policing for the support to the Fiji Police Force and for collaborating with UNDP in delivering coherent support programs.
Working together with all justice sector actors has been the success factor in our work thus far, and my thanks go to the Fiji partners gathered here today. Their attendance at leadership levels is a testament to the significance of this initiative – and of working hand in hand – for the benefit of all Fijians.
I thank you for your attention, and wish all participants a productive training engagement.