EIGHTEEN-year-old Jone Toga always harboured a desire to become a police officer.
The Saunaka, Nadi, lad along with three others were given special recognition by Acting Commissioner of Police Ravi Narayan during the first quarter parade at the Natabua High School grounds in Lautoka yesterday for playing a crucial role in the apprehension of four suspects who were believed to have robbed a store at Martintar last week.
Mr Toga said he was encouraged by policemen he had spoken with to sign up for the next recruitment to join the force.
"When we helped the police to arrest the suspects, it quickly became a physical encounter and I was hurt because one of the suspects threw a bottle at me," he said.
"I feel very proud because I did my civic duty and I would encourage other youths to do the same."
Along with Mr Toga, Joeli Lotawa, 39, Josateki Sovau, 37, and Ilaitia Niusama, 32, also received special recognition.
Saunaka Village turaga-ni-mataqali Isaia Saukuru commended the men for their bravery.
"They were at home relaxing after a rugby match and we have a lot of rugby players in our village," he said.
"They were drinking grog and later made their way from Saunaka to Martintar to buy more grog. That's when they heard the screams of a woman and went into the shop to see what was happening.
"All of them were fit rugby players and that is how they managed to corner the suspects and then the police took over. We are very proud of these four men and urge other community members to form a strong duavata with the police."
Speaking at the parade, Mr Narayan said the quartet assisted the police in the arrest of two suspects involved in a robbery.
"The suspects broke into the shop and assaulted the owner and his security guard before robbing him of cash, assorted liquor and cigarettes worth $10,000," he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Narayan said they managed to achieve six out of eight key performance indicators which was a decrease from the last quarter when they achieved all KPIs.
"The reduction of crime against women has been a contentious issue for us and I am happy to report we managed to reach the 10 per cent target and record a major reduction of 38 per cent.
"Another important KPI the police managed to record is that of crime against children by 10 per cent. We managed to maintain our 70 per cent detection rate. Of the 4200 case registries received, we were able to detect a total of 2939 cases."
He said police officers needed to do their duty for the public and become more disciplined.
Mr Narayan also said road fatalities increased by 36 per cent.
"This is due to the 15 fatalities on the roads as a result of 11 accidents for the first quarter compared to eight in the last quarter."
Mr Narayan expressed concern at the increasing number of complaints against the police and the increasing number of police vehicle accidents.
"As far as the first quarter is concerned, we had 20 police vehicle accidents, 246 complaints against the police and 97 complaints against services registered.
"The Western Division has 71 complaints against the police and 23 complaints against services registered."
He said police officers need to do their duty to the public and become more disciplined.
"Policing services are delivered by the people. We need to work together with the community to achieve success which means closer engagement with each other, the public and other agencies."