26 Mar 2004

Fiji police to upgrade ability to deal with armed threats

8:34 am on 26 March 2004

Fiji police will upgrade their arms and ammunition to be able to deal effectively with possible terrorist attacks and domestic threats.

The Fiji Times quotes police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, as saying officers will undergo advanced weapons training in close quarter assaults, counter terrorism and riots.

Mr Hughes says they need new assault rifles, carbines and Israeli-made UZI machine guns to replace current weapons which are not effective in counter terrorism operations.

Police will also set up a bomb disposal unit, a dive team and a search and rescue unit.

Mr Hughes says the move is part of a major restructure of government's overall security system.

It will include the replacement of the Mobile Riot Squad with a Rapid Response Unit, and upgrading of the Special branch to improve its intelligence gathering capability.

The Special branch upgrading will be done by Fiji police officers returning from Kosovo where they have gained wide experience in intelligence and counter-intelligence work.