14 Jul 2005

Pacific police need training on use of force, UN gun meeting hears

9:30 pm on 14 July 2005

A United Nations meeting on small arms has heard that armed police in Pacific Island countries need more training on the minimum use of force.

The assistant director of the Suva-based Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, Ema Tagicakibau, told the meeting today in New York that Fiji police have armed some officers in response to dangerous criminals.

But she said those police should be accountable to the UN code of conduct for law enforcement officers, and to the basic principles for minimum use of force by police officers.

"The right to use minimum force is often abused by police officers when they deal with suspects. So imagine what would happen if they are armed and they abuse their powers, using guns as a tool of intimidation and bullying or torture."

Ms Tagicakibau says donor nations in the Pacific, such as New Zealand and Australia, shouldn't train police officers in how to use guns, without also training them on the human rights system.