POLICE officers are committed to their work, says Miss Chicken Express Fiona Pirie.
One of the seven contestants vying for the first ever Divisional Crime Prevention Carnival in the Western Division, Ms Pirie said her views of police officers changed since she became a contestant.
"When you think about it they play a huge role in ensuring that our society is safe and free of crime," said Ms Pirie.
"For example for the Nadi district alone, one officer is responsible for 936 civilians. We sometimes take for granted their work and their commitment," she said.
Ms Pirie says her week-long experience as a contestant at the Crime Prevention Carnival had been worthwhile.
"I've learnt so much about our Police Force and how it is important for the community to work with our local officers and community posts to prevent crimes in our societies.
"I've also come to love and respect my fellow contestants and believe that at the end of the day we are all winners because we agreed to step up and advocate and create awareness on things that matter to us and to our community."
The youngest contestant, 16-year-old Miss Sigatoka Electric Phillipa Steele said she came into the competition wanting to win but that view had since changed after spending hours raising awareness about incest related crimes.
"That was my initial thinking but I now I believe that we're all here to be the voice of the people and to create awareness on crime prevention," said Ms Steele.
"Sexual abuse among children is growing in our societies and I think that its sickening to see young children being abused by their own family members. I'm advocating on crimes of incest in the community and I believe these two crimes are correlated."
The Sigatoka Methodist College student said the Police Force had been working hard in trying to reduce these sexual crimes on young children.
"We all have to be responsible for our younger generation and I believe that if we work together with authorities and as a community we can protect our children," Ms Steele added.
Miss Steele and Miss Pirie along with five other contestants will be at Lautoka's Churchill Park tonight for the official Divisional Crime Prevention Carnival crowning.