9 Oct 2017

Fiji military takeover of police functions raises concerns

11:30 am on 9 October 2017

The announcement that Fiji's military is set to assume police functions is a concerning development for some observers.

Fiji police

Fiji police Photo: Facebook Fiji Police

Military commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, last week, said a task force was being formed where the military would provide a quick response to robberies and other crimes.

Massey University's Anna Powles said the military stepping up to police duties is not new, but it is a concerning blurring of the distinction between the police and military, which has a chequered past in Fiji.

Dr Powles also said it wouldn't do anything to address problems in the police force that made the support necessary.

"The tension there is that the increasing involvement of the military within policing activities does nothing to actually develop the capacity and professionalism of the police force itself, and it disempowers the police force. So from a security sector governance perspective, it actually weakens the police force which should have primacy domestically."