5 Nov 2002

Fiji opposition leader blames commissioner for police problems

9:27 am on 5 November 2002

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, has blamed the police commissioner, Colonel Isikia Savua, for the near collapse of the force.

In a statement, Mr Beddoes says this is the legacy Col Savua will leave behind as he heads for greener pastures in New York.

Col Savua has been appointed Fiji's next ambassador to the United Nations and will take up his new post in early January.

Mr Beddoes has questioned what security Fiji citizens have when even Col Savua needs five bodyguards when enjoying himself in a western division bar.

He says recent revelations about the force for brutality against innocent people are shocking.

Mr Beddoes says if people go to the police for protection and instead are beaten into submission and then made to pay off corrupt officers, this does not give hope to the people.

The opposition leader says this is testament of how hopeless the law enforcement agency has become and he has called or a complete overhaul of the force.