Editorial comment: Stretching the long arm of the law

Woman Special Constable Julie Tuikenawa shows the damage at the Delainavesi Community Post. Picture: SUPPLIED

TWO separate attacks on its officers have forced the Fiji Police Force to warn that such action will not be condoned. The warning came in the wake of two attacks against police officers being reported over 24 hours.
Six police officers were stoned when confronting a group of men who were allegedly trying to break into a supermarket at Nakasi on Monday morning while a female officer was attacked at the Delainavesi Community Post in Lami yesterday morning.
Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Itendra Nair said the two attacks were examples of incidents where officers were allegedly confronted with cane knives.
He confirmed that stones and beer bottles were also thrown at the Nakasi Police Station vehicle that attended to the scene of the break-in.
While it was fortunate that no one was injured, he said, assets, however, were damaged.
Attacks on police officers, he said, would not be condoned and members of the public needed to respect the work of officers who are doing their best to ensure the safety and security of all Fijians.
Officers, he said, are judged harshly when they failed to react during these attacks.
As the police worked to arrest those involved in the first incident, a man was in custody in relation to the attack against Woman Special Constable Julie Tuikenawa yesterday. She was on duty at the Delainavesi Community Post when a woman came running to the post asking for assistance as her partner had allegedly threatened her in their home which was near the post. The suspect allegedly wielded a cane knife and smashed the railings of the post. He was alleged to have also hurled abuse at the female officer, saying she was interfering in their personal matters by protecting his partner.
The two incidents are worrying.
There will no doubt be many questions asked.
We hope they are isolated events and are not a reflection of a greater problem.
Surely there will be questions asked of the value of the uniform in the mechanics of security and safety for the greater public good.
Surely this cannot be a reflection of a fragmented society? It is worrying when people cast aside respect for the law, and turn against it.
It is frightening that people are not afraid to retaliate and harass our men and women in blue.
Law and order are important ingredients in a stable society.
Understandably our men and women in blue have a massive challenge to live up to the expectations of the masses. They must be beyond reproach so to speak. It may not be easy, but it essentially is part of their very important job.
We are doomed when people deliberately go against policemen and women, and show no respect at all for the law. Our men and women in blue, however, have a huge responsibility as well.
They must uphold the laws of our country.
As responsible citizens of Fiji, it falls on us to do the right thing and be law-abiding people.
The scenarios cut both ways though.
The police force and the people of Fiji have important roles to play, to ensure we all live in peace and harmony in this beautiful country of ours.
We certainly hope that the law has long arms.

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