COMMISSIONER SHOWS CONCERN FOR HEALTH STATUS OF FORCE
The Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho has expressed serious concerns about the health status of majority of his officers and will now be focused on capitalizing on the expertise of a group of recently graduated Physical Training Instructors.
The head of the Force revealed his plans during the closing of the Physical Training Instructors Course at the Fiji Police Academy on Friday whereby 29 officers graduated from the two month course.
Also graduating were two officers from the Nauru Police Force who are on attachment with the Academy an outcome of the MOU on police cooperation assistance between Fiji and Nauru.
The Commissioner of Police said the recent death of officers was a major concern for him considering majority were as a result of non-communicable diseases.
"Last month during our Remembrance Day ceremony at the PSRU, I could not contain my emotions when I saw the young families of our fallen comrades particularly seeing young children walking up with wreaths for their loved ones".
"The glaring and unsettling reality is that we are losing many of our officers at an age where they are deemed to be in the prime of their lies and have so much more to offer and it was even more of a concern when I came to realize that close or even more than 90 of the deaths were results of NCD's and as I vowed on my first day as your Commissioner I will do all I can to improve the welfare of my officers".
The Commissioner of Police said improving the physical wellbeing of his officers will not only help uplift their health status but will also help save money.
"At the moment when I compare our welfare medical scheme with our counterparts in the military we are paying much more and I ask myself why, and the reason is obvious and that is because we are a sick force so brokers demand a higher premium because of the risk we carry".
Brigadier General Qiliho said he wants to see a healthier Police Force and will be relying on the recent graduates to ensure that happens.
"This is where you role is vital if I am to succeed in my quest of having a healthier force and while I know that there is still opposition and resistance to the reintroduction of the Required Fitness Level tests, I will not back down because I will not turn a blind eye to the fact that if we do not act now we are heading towards becoming an unhealthy force".
Making reference to national statistics, Brigadier General Qiliho expressed concerns about his officers succumbing to a similar fate.
"We cannot ignore the statistics that state that 80% of deaths in Fiji are caused by NCD's and in many Pacific island countries life expectancy is declining due to premature NCD related deaths and this is why I want my officers to adopt a change of mindset and view training and eating healthy as more than a directive because I say so, but to treat it as a way of life".
"The conclusion for this course for me marks what could well be the beginning of a new path for our institution because we need to find solutions for the deteriorating health status for majority of our officers".
Course facilitators included P.T instructors from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and other well-known physical instructors and lecturers in Fiji.