Do not abuse the power of your uniform: Raj

October 26, 2020 4:45 pm

The four men were allegedly detained at Totogo Police Station.

Police officers should not abuse the power of their uniforms.

The warning comes from the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission after it received a complaint from four men who claim they were wrongfully detained for breaching curfew.

The Commission has launched an investigation saying the case highlights the importance of fundamental rights and freedom under the Fijian Constitution.

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Calling out police for their actions in the allege detainment of these men last Friday night, the Human Rights Director Ashwin Raj says things should have been handled better.

“Why would you amplify that level of anxiety and distress by doing this? Now I am just wondering when they were taken in for 18 hours did they have the right to contact their family members, did they have the right to consult a lawyer to say look I am in trouble with the law. I am just wondering if any of these things happened.”

Raj says the men had approached police for help, but unfortunately, they were falsely accused of breaching curfew and locked up.

“It seems like these people were trying to do the right thing. To approach the police and say look we might just get in conflict with the law because it’s almost 11pm and we’ve been calling and have been advised to come and report to the nearest police station. Your uniform does not give you the license to behave as if you own people.”

Two of the men claimed that the behaviour of officers at the Totogo Police Station was unacceptable.

The Human Rights Commission says the actions of some officers paint a bad picture of the force.

The Police Internal Affairs Department is now investigating after the Acting Commissioner ordered that a full report be submitted to him.