Seruiratu: Fiji Police needs collaborated strategy to fight drugs situation

Minister for Defence,National Security and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu. Picture: RAMA/FILE

NOTING that the illicit drugs situation in Fiji has found a transit point for neighbours Australia and New Zealand in particular, Government says the Fiji Police Force will need a rigorous collaborated operational strategy, surveillance and newer methods to curb these.

Speaking in Parliament last Wednesday, Minister for Defence, National Security and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu the drugs situation in the country needed a collaborative and more cohesive effort from all segments of society.

On the offset, Mr Seruiratu said drugs recorded an increase of 13 per cent in June this year when compared to the same period last year.

He said this may not depict the actual rise but it was a reflection of the police and concerted joint stakeholder efforts by police, Fiji Navy, Fiji Customs and Immigration, military and the Fiji Revenue and Customs Services (FRCS).

“The recent discovery of transponders and numerous blocks of hard drugs in our inland shores indicates our vulnerability to drug trade routes,” Mr Seruiratu said.

“To overcome this vulnerability, Sir, the Government has funded the purchase of new intercept boats to strengthen law enforcement presence on the seas.

“… The collaboration between the police and the Fiji Navy was again realised when the RFNS Kikau was deployed to retrieve transponders and suspicious containers found in one of our far lying groups of islands, with the retrieval process completed in less than 10 hours of when the information of the discovery was received.”

Mr Seruiratu said controlling borders would always be a challenge, and it was one that Fiji was confronting alone.

He said in the Government’s endeavour to fight against this cross-border crime, the FRCS had taken serious steps to have a virtual border control system to profile passengers, cargo and crafts before they enter Fiji.

“Some of the real time initiatives include the introduction of Non-Intrusive Inspection equipment at both the sea ports in Suva and Lautoka.

“Further extending the scanning of parcels at the postal agencies and further supported with the Fiji Drug Detector Dog Unit which provides enhanced opportunity to comprehend the illicit drug trade.

“… The capacity development and engagement between the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service and local and regional law enforcement has resulted in the success of the Detector Dog Unit based in Suva and Nadi International Airport has intercepted cases of hard drugs from 2017 to 2019 with a street value of $63million and $90.9millionin social costs.”

More Stories