Fiji Police Force an apolitical institution, says ACP Qiolevu

Picture ATU RASEA

ANY member of the Fiji Police Force with political aspirations must do the right thing and leave the force, says chief operations officer Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Maretino Qiolevu.

In addressing about 200 police officers at a pre election parade in Labasa yesterday, acting ACP Qiolevu said: “Let me be clear. The Fiji Police Force is an apolitical institution.

“We don’t want to be caught in a situation where the credibility or the allegiance of our uniform is questioned.

“There have been numerous briefs and workshops conducted to prepare you for your role during the election and no one should have the excuse that he or she does not know what to do.”

Acting ACP Qiolevu also alerted his team about being thrown into the proverbial “boxing ring” as campaigning period starts.

“You will come across situations where our work will be thrown into the proverbial ‘boxing ring’ but don’t worry about what is being said about you or the institution, continue with your work,” he said.

“Professionalism will be important during the election period. We will be scrutinised and judged for every wrong action and for every word uttered.

“The magnifying glass that is used to scrutinise our work will be magnified ten times over. We will not only be scrutinised by members of the public but will also be under the watchful eye of the international observer group.”

Acting ACP Qiolevu told his team to know the “Dos” and “Don’ts” of the general election duties.

“Ensure that you are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepared for this critical task, attend incidents promptly and efficiently and be firm and fair when making decisions,” he said.

“Don’t involve yourselves in unnecessary conversation with anyone, don’t enter polling stations unless requested by the presiding officer and don’t interfere in the voting process unless directed otherwise.”

Acting ACP Qiolevu also warned his officers not to influence any voters when seeking assistance or discuss political issue with the public.

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