12 Jun 2007

Concern in Fiji over police links to military

3:12 pm on 12 June 2007

There are fears in Fiji that the appointment of a military officer to the position of police commissioner could further blur the lines between the two security forces.

The Deputy Commander of the military, Captain Esala Teleni, who was in the navy and has been the acting head of the Anti Corruption Commission, won the job over two other police candidates.

The Human Rights Commissioner, Shamima Ali, says the appointment might not entirely be a bad thing, but that best practice was not followed:

"On a matter of principle, the two institutions should remain independent, police and military, and there should not be a blurring of roles and a police officer, a seasoned police officer would be much better at the helm."

Ms Ali says the police force was already demoralised before the appointment of Captain Teleni and discipline appears to be suffering.