A community policing team led by the Fiji Police Force Chaplain Reverend Superintendent of Police (SP) Waisale Tikowale has completed Operation Veitalevi on the island of Kadavu.
The operation which spanned over 20 days saw the team made up of officers from the Drugs Unit, Sexual Offence, WATERPOL and the Divisional Manager Community Policing South revisit areas known for the cultivation of the illicit drug marijuana, and also conduct community outreach programs with other Tikina’s or Districts in a bid to create awareness on the harmful effects of the substance.
Kadavu as of lately has been labelled a red zone in terms of the illicit drug trade mainly concerning marijuana, and the team led by SP Reverend Tikowale spent more than three weeks focusing on creating awareness on the effects of drugs and the impacts of other social issues.
Other focus areas include sexual offences, cybercrime and security, drugs and awareness on safety at sea and disaster preparedness as well as Roles & responsibilities towards Community Partnership & Safety.
The Fiji Police Force believes the increased awareness created through Operation Veitalevi will assist with community policing efforts on the island of Kadavu in the hope of reducing and eradicating the illegal trade which has now plagued the Southern island.
Rev. Tikowale said they continued to receive positive feedback from the community after awareness sessions and had received requests and invitations from Villages and settlements which were not in their schedule however they tried their best to attend to many village meetings as possible.
“Majority of those we’ve met were remorseful that drugs are being discovered on their land and vowed to support the War on Drugs for the sake of Kadavu’s future generation’’.
The 20 days of awareness also enabled the Fiji Police Chaplain to deliver awareness messages from the pulpit.Rev Tiko reminded them that it’s everyone’s responsibility to join hands and work towards eliminating drug use in their society and the need for parents to teach their children the right values to understand their role in the society and negative effects drug.
The impacts of Operation Veitalevi were immediately felt during their visit to one of the villages whereby a tip was received of the suspected trade of marijuana resulting in the arrest of a suspect who has since been charged with one count of unlawful possession of illicit drugs.
Also part of the team’s agenda is the creating of awareness in schools .
The team also managed to visit a number of Primary and the three secondary schools on the island where interest was also high from students and teachers about emerging crime trends and youth related issues which many have heard through various news mediums.
Nasau Village headman Waisale Ratudina said they appreciated the awareness campaign.
Most of the time we are in the dark in terms of addressing some social problems and we now know what to do when facing those issues. We wish that the team had stayed here for long so that we could have learned more and we are planning to invite them again”.
Operation Veitalevi is expected to continue in other Divisions