30 Aug 2010

Fiji women's rights activist welcomes police chief change-over

1:43 pm on 30 August 2010

A women's rights activist and former Human Rights Commissioner in Fiji says a changing of the guard at the top of the police force brings new hope for crime control in Fiji.

The acting head of Fiji's police force Joeli Baleilevuka has suspended all religious activities within the force following the resignation of Commodore Esala Teleni last week.

Commodore Teleni introduced the 'Jesus Strategy' which involved an emphasis on Christian preaching and 'crusades' as part of a community policing initiative.

Shamima Ali of the Women's Crisis Centre says it's meant crime statistics have been obscured, experienced officers have left the force and victims of sexual and domestic violence have been forced to reconcile with their abusers.

"I believe if the Acting Commissioner takes his responsibilites well he will weed out all those people who were allegedly appointed only because they belonged to the new Methodist Church or came in because of provincialism and have no qualifications."

Shamima Ali of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre.