THE Fiji Police Force needs to establish a good culture so the general public respects and appreciate its work.
A police force that does not have the respect of the public will struggle to grow and achieve the goals that have been outlined by the commissioner.
Chief Guest and Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji general manager, Peter Hopgood made these comments at the Fiji Police Force Excellence Awards at Nasova last night.
"If your police team members are not dressed correctly, if they do not keep their respective stations clean and tidy, if they do not embrace the community, if they are rude or dishonest, it will be very difficult for them to earn the respect of the public," Mr Hopgood said.
He noted the strong bond Sigatoka had with officers serving there, plus the close relationship with the local town council.
From a time it was inundated with touters, beggars and thieves, he said that was history after hoteliers, police and the council worked to clean up the town to make it safe for its citizens and for tourists.
"Unfortunately, this is not the same in other towns and cities around Fiji. Some of your policemen and women are not pro-active in taking these people to task and before you know it, these townships are overrun by these thieves and criminals," Mr Hopgood said.
Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Ioane Naivalurua said they had identified critical points from last year that they needed to address.
"To take the organisation forward, we need to look at these critical points in order to achieve excellence within the force," Brig-Gen Naivalurua said.
He reminded his officers that last night's event was not only one of celebration but also "â€¦to recommit and rededicate ourselves for the journey that we are undertaking".
Forty five policemen and women were recognised last night with awards for their commitment and contributions to the objectives of the force during the 2012 operational year.
Awards recognised best police officer, best special constable, best driver, musician, dog handler, traffic officer, Intelligence Bureau Officer, border officer, community policing officer, training instructor, case investigated, sports team, fittest policemen and women, community post and police station, and best forensic officer, and also awarding children of officers who excelled academically and in sports.
Other awards also included best detective of the year, best prosecutor of the year, best sportsperson international level, and the Commissioner of Police Top Cop award, among others.
The Eastern Division scooped six awards, west - five, south - three, two for the north and the remaining majority to various other units of the force based in the Central Division.
Brig-Gen Naivalurua and his wife took out the Best Health and Wellness Couple award for their exemplary dedication in maintaining a good health and prioritising family.
The Awards night marked the end of the community policing symposium.