18 Jul 2013

Fiji army and police bands help Solomons police tackle crime

5:30 pm on 18 July 2013

Fiji's military and police bands have been helping police in Solomon Islands tackle community crime in the capital, Honiara.

The bands were part of a Fiji contingent of 200 who accompanied the prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, in his visit to mark the country's 35th independence anniversary.

The Guadalcanal police commander says alcohol-related crime is a serious problem, especially among young people.

David Diosi says the director of community policing and the Honiara city police commander came up with an idea of how the force could use the bands to raise community awareness around the issue. He spoke to Annell Husband.

DAVID DIOSI: What they've come up with is that for them just to perform and attract the crowd in some of these locations for big communities, and then we're the ones who actually do the talking.

ANNELL HUSBAND: So what message were you trying to put across at those performances?

DD: Most of the message is just trying to encourage especially the young people. Some of these different crimes now in terms of domestic violence, in terms of drug issues, in terms of assault cases that are related to crime, in terms of even noise and nuisance all throughout the night in some of these neighbourhoods. I think that's kind of the message we informed the general public that police now have this very serious concern. It becomes the norm now, mostly within this youth grouping, that drinking has just become now like normal day-to-day kind of lifestyle. And most of the youth in most of these communities that we visited, most are no longer attending schools and most have nothing much to do and are unemployed. And so the increase in alcohol-related crimes becomes now a serious concern for not only the police, but the general public, the general communities now at large. And maybe because of this ongoing minimal kind of sentence normally issued to them by the court of law, maybe people just don't take heed of these kind of convictions. We place a lot of pressure close to the community. What we are pleading to the community, especially the parents, the dads and the mums and the chiefs and the church leaders, is that we really need to work together. Another thing, the police, what we want to relay to everybody, is that it's actually from your own backyard, it's in your own house now. You may look around for who is a criminal or who are these offenders? They now come from your own home, from your own neighbours. So therefore, without your support, we can't actually do much to address these youths who are now doing things that create a lot of nightmare now, I would say, lots of problems to their own communities and families.