Suva, Fiji – Police officers in Fiji have been on the frontline supporting government’s response measures to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring safety and security of all Fijians. They are at risk of infection when carrying out their duty. New Zealand and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) handed over personal protective equipment (PPE) worth FJ$85,500 to the Fiji Police Force to help protect individual police officers from potential health risks.
The PPE items, which include 10,000 KN95 masks, 30,000 gloves, and 300 bottles of hand sanitizers, are being delivered to police officers on duty in towns and communities. In addition, protective measures established in March 2020 following COVID-19 community cases, further containment measures are currently in place across the main island of Viti Levu since 26 April 2021 to protect people in Fiji from a potential COVID-19 community outbreak.
Acting Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said, “The Fiji Police Force is thankful for this immediate and timely assistance. Currently, police officers are deployed daily in the field in the Western, Central, Southern and Eastern Divisions where the stricter restrictions on movement of people has been implemented. The PPE will support each officer’s safety from potential health risks and strengthen their confidence in providing protection and guidance to people and communities.”
The assistance was provided through the Fiji Police Force Support Project implemented by UNDP with financial and technical support from New Zealand. The project aims to strengthen transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the Police in collaboration with key justice stakeholders and civil society organizations.
The Fiji Police Force Support Project forms part of a wider Police Strengthening Programme supported by New Zealand that aims to improve the performance and culture of the Fiji Police Force, as announced by Prime Minister Ardern of New Zealand during her visit to Fiji in February 2020.
New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Curr said, “New Zealand stands ready to support all Fiji Government frontline staff responding to the current COVID-19 emergency”
“Protection of on-duty police officers from the risk of infection is extremely important. It allows officers to effectively assist people in this uncertain and challenging situation,” he added.
“UNDP is proud to be a trusted partner of the Governments of Fiji and New Zealand to support the Fiji Police Force and to hand over personal protective equipment to the Fijian police officers who are working on the frontlines, ensuring public order and safety,” said Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji.
The equipment will enable the Fiji Police Force officers, who have been tirelessly performing their duties in relation to COVID-19 response measures, to take precaution and protect themselves.
The Fiji Police Force Support Project supports the Fiji Police Force to strengthen early access to justice in criminal proceedings and strengthen a victim-centered approach to investigations. This engagement prioritizes gender-responsive and human rights-based approaches to justice for vulnerable groups, and promotes gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls.
The project also supports urgent initiatives required by the Fiji Police Force to implement the Government’s COVID-19 response and recovery plan in a coherent manner and strengthen effective engagement with the public.
Through the Fiji Police Support Project, UNDP and partners aim to contribute to Fiji’s sustainable development. The Project has a focus on Sustainable Development Goal 16, which promotes just, peaceful and inclusive societies, and Goal 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls.
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Courtney Rose, Second Secretary | Political, New Zealand High Commission Suva| Te Aka Aorere; tel.: +679 779 0804; email: email@example.com
Tomoko Kashiwazaki, Communications and Advocacy, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji; tel.: +679 715 8051; email: firstname.lastname@example.org