Fiji’s Minister for Home Affairs Pio Tikoduadua has revealed his plans for the Fiji Police, and one of them is for it to be led by its own people.

Tikoduadua said he wants the Force to be blue and not to be mistaken for any other force in government.

The Minister said the Fiji Police Force is not the military.

He said e wants the culture to be blue and the leadership to come from the police.

“It’s been a long time coming that Police Commissioners have been members of the service that I formerly belong to. So when I say I just want it to be blue, I want the culture to be blue, led by someone in blue and this important as we go forward as we try to shred ourselves.”

Tikoduadua said there have been some issues that have perhaps hindered or contaminated the way the force has done its job in the past.

He said it is not the force’s fault because much has been imposed upon it by the political masters since then.

Tikoduadua said the government wants a police force led by its own people.

The Minister told the officers there is a great deal of expectation for the Fiji Police Force to uphold the highest level of integrity and professionalism in the way they conduct their work.

He told the officers that their allegiance was to the law and the law alone.

Tikoduadua also took the time to thank officers for the work they do to maintain law and order.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Police Force is looking to grow its ranks to 7000 in the next five years to better meet the needs of the growing population, up by 2424 from the current 4,576 officers.

The force presently operates with a ratio of one police officer to every 456 people in the Central Division alone.

Acting Police Commissioner Juki Fong Chew raised the issue with Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua during his visit to Central Police Station, Suva, Monday.

During a briefing, a senior policeman informed the minister that police were being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people they were being tasked to take care of.

The police informed Tikoduadua that CPS or Totogo, catered to an area of 8.477 square kilometres which included 6,500 businesses, 11,400 residents and 150,000 who entered the Suva Peninsula on a daily basis for work, education or trade.

Police said the 150,000 was for those who entered the division via buses and did not include those who travelled in private vehicles, company transport or minivans.

The police commissioner told Tikoduadua that according to the old structure, the strength for the CPS was 234, however, at present it was 329.

“The current restructure (of the Fiji Police Force) is a five-year plan, so by the end of the five years, we should be at 7000,” the Police Commissioner said.

“Currently, we are on the first phase of phase three but it will be dependent on the government for funding.”

Tikoduadua said the challenge would be on striking a good balance between increasing police manpower and utilising modern technology where possible.

“These are important decisions to make because obviously with resources — there is never enough — and you want to be smart so that you can deploy only in the more important areas,” he said.