Fiji’s Police Force received nearly $90,000 worth of ICT equipment to strengthen their emergency response capabilities as well as provide transparency to the process of detention and arrest.
Provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and procured under the FPF Support Project with support from New Zealand, the latest ICT equipment, which includes desktops, laptops and tablets will enable the force to continue the First Hour Procedure and other essential services during restricted working conditions caused by emergency situations such as COVID-19 and natural disasters.
“The new set of ICT equipment will boost our emergency response capabilities, expand on capabilities of the FPF to work remotely in times of crisis, and allow officers to share and disseminate data as a mechanism for crisis management response,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Itendra Nair said.
“The equipment will also allow critical operations such as conducting the First Hour Procedure to continue even in the situations when timely physical access to lawyers is difficult in emergency situations.”
FPF in partnership with the Legal Aid Commission has been implementing the First Hour Procedure to protect the rights of persons who are arrested or detained in the early stage of criminal justice proceedings guaranteed by the Fiji Constitution. The tablets will enable detained or arrested individuals to access lawyers through online platforms during the first hour of arrests or detention.
Overall, the provision of the ICT equipment will help to ensure that Fiji continues to uphold and comply with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).
New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, Her Excellency Charlotte Darlow said, “New Zealand appreciates a deepened and long-standing security and justice partnership with Fiji. I acknowledge the important improvement in the FPF operations enabled through the FPF Support Project in partnership with UNDP.”
“New Zealand is pleased to support the Fiji Police Force in areas that seek to strengthen ICT capabilities during times of crisis,” added Darlow.
Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji said, “FPF has capacities and resources to carry out its mandate ensuring the delivery of justice to all Fijians. UNDP, as a global UN development agency, promotes security sector governance, strengthening the capacity of FPF and the compliance with the human rights standards, through deploying perspective, expertise, and technologies.”
During the presentation, printed posters were also handed over that inform people of their rights in three major languages used in Fiji and in a pictorial format when they are arrested or detained in the police stations.
The ICT equipment was worth more than US$40,000 (approx. FJ$86,000).