Fijian police forces have received the first batch of specially designed video recording equipment for law enforcement to use at the time of arrest and during investigative processes.
The equipment provided by the New Zealand government and UNDP was received yesterday by Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate.
This first batch of video recording equipment valued at $ 230,000 will allow police officers to record interviews and monitor what is happening in interrogation rooms, and will also allow them to operate both at distance and in the interrogation room and keep records on the server for a defined period.
A joint statement by the Fijian police, the New Zealand government and the UNDP said that protection of human rights in the early stages of criminal proceedings was achieved through two key interventions: the protection of a person’s rights at the the moment of his arrest or detention by the police (early procedure) and during the investigative processes by the police (videotaped interviews).
He said the Fijian police had implemented a pilot of the proceedings early on and trained officers in the development of investigative interrogation techniques in partnership with partners in the Fijian justice sector and the UNDP.
A / CP Tudravu says the Early Access to Justice initiative is a collaborative effort of all key stakeholders in the Fijian justice sector, in partnership with the Department of Justice, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions , the Legal Aid and Human Rights Commission and Anti-Discrimination Commission and supported by New Zealand Police Advisors who are strategically placed within the Fijian Police.
“The early proceedings started at Totogo Police Station and Suva Criminal Investigation Division in 2016, and are now to be extended to other parts of the country. Through this initiative, we have seen an improvement in the communication skills of officers and a reduction in the number of complaints against police officers for conduct during the interview process, ”he said.
“The video recording equipment we have received today will allow us to ensure another key element of early access to justice, namely videotaped interviews. The videotaped interviews will be implemented by our investigators who will be trained in investigative interview techniques.
The videotaped interviews aim to increase the transparency of criminal proceedings and protect both the rights of those detained or arrested and the police, by encouraging them to investigate evidence more than confessions, the agencies said.
New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji Jonathan Curr said New Zealand is pleased to support the Fijian Police in the areas of police capacity development and the purchase of equipment that would help Fijian Police to fulfill its international human rights obligations.
“By expanding the work of the First-Hour program, New Zealand supports the goal of a transparent, accountable and efficient police force. As Fiji’s close neighbor, New Zealand is committed to continuing its deep and long-standing security partnership with the Fijian police, ”said Mr. Curr.
UNDP Pacific Resident Representative Levan Bouadze said: “The UNDP Fiji Police Support Project aims to build on the success of the early pilot process and extend it to all of Fiji. This is made possible by generous funding from the New Zealand government and technical support from the New Zealand Police. “
“The installation of this modern ICT equipment in all police stations in Fiji will protect human rights by reducing the incidence and perception of misconduct on the part of the police. It will also ensure that the evidence is captured and can be used at the later stages of the investigation, prosecution and trial, ”Bouadze said.