Test of character

IN an ideal world, life for many people would be a far cry from what it is now. There certainly wouldn’t be any qualms hanging over what is wrong and right, and what police brutality is all about.

There wouldn’t be any contradiction between support for the police force and opposition to bad policemen and women.

As claims of police brutality surfaced in far flung Vanuabalavu yesterday, where a 42-year-old man claimed he was hospitalised for two days because of the alleged beating he received from officers, there will be concern.

The alleged incident has prompted a police investigation.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro yesterday confirmed receiving a report saying a team would fly out on the next available flight to Vanuabalavu to investigate the complaint.

Medical officials at the Lomaloma Hospital confirmed the man was admitted and had been under observation from Saturday. He was discharged on Monday.

Obviously none of the allegations are new in Fiji.

Surely it is possible to support the police force and oppose the use of excessive force and other questionable actions against the populace, especially when they damage the image of the force and relationships between it and the masses.

Surely we realise the work of the force entails the protection and wellbeing of the masses. It involves ensuring we all are able to live in peace and harmony in a country we call home.

That means upholding the laws that govern us.

With that level of authority though comes a great sense of responsibility.

And it starts from within individual policemen and women.

It means them being responsible for their actions. It means an appreciation of the huge role they play in our lives on a daily basis.

Every man and woman in blue needs our support to do their jobs well though. They are members of a special group of people. Their job is not for the faint-hearted.

It is with public support though that a strong and vibrant force can take shape.

Understandably the force needs a solid foundation to build from.

Policemen and women are reflections of society, carrying the aspirations and hopes of people who believe in law and order.

They are like beacons of hope, ensuring there is a balance in society and in our lives.

This latest allegation is an obstacle the force must appropriately deal with.

For what it’s worth, the onus is on each member of the force to do their best and to live up to the expectations of the people of Fiji. But they will need our support.