29 Jul 2004

Fiji police commissioner wants to see peacekeeping a core function of force

2:43 pm on 29 July 2004

Fiji's police commissioner is to present a proposal to the government to turn peacekeeping into a core function of the force.

Andrew Hughes says they currently have 78 officers on three peacekeeping missions in Solomon Islands, Kosovo and Liberia.

He says Fiji police officers are in high demand overseas for their experience in remote areas and difficult situations.

Mr Hughes says this would mean building up the force's capacity to be able to permanently deploy 100 officers at any one time.

"Doing our sums, we say that the net benefit to Fiji in economic terms is in the order of six million (Fiji) dollars. Now that money, paid to the individual officers by the United Nations in the form of a mission specific allowance, is then typically repatriated through their bank accounts into the Fiji economy."

Mr Hughes says it will cost one million Fiji dollars for the government to implement the proposal but it would be a good investment.

He says they're currently negotiating with the Finance ministry for the final bid but won't know until the budget is delivered in November if they've been successful.