Twelve Officers Graduate

As Fiji and the Pacific region are increasingly becoming vulnerable to natural disasters due to the impacts of climate change, the graduation of twelve Fijian Police officers from an internationally accredited course focused on enhancing skills on disaster management training has been commended by the head of the Fiji Police Force.

The twelve officers have successfully completed the International Skills Trainer and Assessor Course facilitated by the Pacific-Community-SPC Pacific Islands Emergency Management Alliance (PIEMA) and the Australia Pacific Training Coalition.

The training funded and supported by the Governments of Australia in Fiji and New Zealand High Commission, Suva, Fiji enables the officers to deliver, develop and assess competency-based disaster management training courses in Fiji and regionally.

Fiji’s Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho said the graduation was timely considering the growing scope of Police work beyond the traditional roles of investigation and crime prevention.

“The Fiji Police remains the lead agency in early responses to natural disaster situations given the decentralization and distribution of Fiji Police resources throughout Fiji and we are required to actively play a lead role in all phases of disaster management from the early response to the recovery phase including disaster victim identification process”.

As the current Chair of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) Brigadier General Qiliho said he will ensure the knowledge gained is shared throughout the Pacific noting the common challenges faced.

“I note that PIEMA is an active training partner under the Pacific Police Training Advisory Group (PPTAG) in the delivery of specific training in disaster management in PICP member countries and as my current role as PICP Chair and lead for PPTAG, I will ensure that skills attained by our officers will be factored as part of training opportunities to be offered to regional countries under the Pacific Community for Law Enforcement Cooperation (PCLEC)”.

Sentiments echoed by the PIEMA Project Manager, Patrick Haines who reaffirmed their commitment in investing in training opportunities aimed at benefitting the Pacific region.

“For the Fiji Police Force, having these graduates may now give you the opportunity to open discussions with the Australian Federal Police and New Zealand Police or Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police partners on opportunities to further enhance or use these trainers in their own training programs in Fiji and across the Pacific”.

Life Flight Fiji’s Pacific Emergency Management Specialist Mr Anthony Blake said the successful completion of the IST Course opens up the opportunity to explore new specialized fields of policing.

“From an emergency management perspective you have deployable skills and when there is a request for emergency disaster response in other countries, you have the capability to deploy regionally on humanitarian grounds".

Of the 53 PIEMA members who graduated from the IST Course, 19 were from the Police and include the 12 from the Fiji Police Force, 1 from Vanuatu Police Force, 4 from the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and 2 from the Samoa Police Service.