Support for law enforcement

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho speaking at the opening of the two-week training workshop for 40 police, immigration and custom officers on combatting meth and other synthetic drugs. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/FILE

THE United States Drug and Enforcement Administration (DEA) is committed to supporting the Fiji Police Force in its fight against amphetamine and other drug crisis in the future.

While responding to The Fiji Times, it said the administration and Fiji “shared interest in combating this very serious problem” and will “help in whatever way we can”.

Trainers from the DEA are currently in Suva conducting a two-week training workshop for 40 police, immigration and Customs officers on combating meth and other synthetic drugs.

The training, opened by Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho last Monday, provides an opportunity to exchange best practices learned in the United States through long, painful experience.

“We are discussing, from a law enforcement perspective, the methods crime syndicates across the globe, in particular how criminals take advantage of the local community and profit from their addiction,” Brig- Gen Qiliho said.

“We are sharing our experiences in investigating drug crimes, identifying and handling evidence, building a case, and — most of all — keeping people safe, including law enforcement officers who put themselves at risk.”

US DEA country attache in Canberra, Australia Kevin Merkel said the DEA supported Brig-Gen Qiliho’s efforts in implementing effective measures that suit Fiji’s unique circumstances.

“We wouldn’t want to tell Fiji how it should structure its efforts bureaucratically. We have our own insights, which we are eager to share. But we also are here to learn, and we want to listen to local police and government officials, as they have more experience and insight on the situation here in Fiji.”

The training was the result of close collaboration between the Fiji Police Force and the US Regional Security Office.

It ends this week.

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