18 Aug 2006

Fiji police forced to make cutbacks

1:43 pm on 18 August 2006

Fiji police have been forced to cut back on operations and development after the ministry of finance slashed their allocated budget by almost 440,000 US dollars.

The budget cutback is part of reductions throughout the government, with the money going to pay out millions of dollars in next week's salary increases which were agreed to just before the May general elections.

The police force has stopped all capital works including the construction of several new police stations and limited work to only eight hours per shift.

It has also ordered all police stations to use no more than 20 litres of fuel per shift or a maximum of 60 litres a day.

The police have also frozen all recruitment and the purchase of arms, ammunition and riot gear.

The minister of home affairs, Josefa Vosanibola, is reported to have written to his finance counterpart last week asking for the police budget to be restored, but has not received a response yet.