‘Ghost letter’ backs Police Commissioner's work

By Staff Writer ,

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One more ghost letter about internal frictions within the Ministry of Police has surfaced.

This time, the unsigned letter penned by a “Young Police Officer” defends the much-maligned Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil.

The letter is addressed to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and Cabinet Ministers with copies to the Minister of Police, Sala Fata Pinati and Ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma.

This is the letter in full:

 

To the Prime Minister, 

Members of Cabinet, 

Minister of Police, 

As a new recruit, recruited in the Samoa Police Force, I was well aware of the Guidelines, Policies, Acts and laws that we Officers needed to abide by. But as my time went by I saw a completely different way of handling of matters and standards by those in power. This somehow changed when the new Commissioner was selected. 

l saw how things were done by the books. Best practices imposed by the Commissioner include cost cutting measures such as cutting cost of the electricity bill, putting in internal measures to stop police officers from taking Ministry cars home and enforcing having deadlines to all police investigation. If these best practices are done elsewhere by other Ministries why is it not good for the Ministry of Police? 

These changes however, have been short lived. So much has been said against the Samoan Police as seen recently in the papers and l wish to highlight some of the problems within our Police Service that has been swept under the carpet by some Senior Officers which l know of. 

But I want to draw your attention to some of the major problems and poor decisions making that these senior Police officers were made which will give you an idea of what is happening within the Police Service:

1. There is an investigation against one of the Assistant Commissioner in relation to the use of, his power to gain sexual favour and other unlawful activity. The outcome of that investigation is still unknown within the Police service and within the community whether there are any criminal charges or breach of any contract or regulation and others against this Commissioner. 

2. A suspended Police officer who was faced with very serious charges of using a firearm in a public place and assault charges is now back to work since the Acting administration took over. All the witnesses to this case were junior officers and are now being supervised by the suspended officers and have caused friction between him and those who witnessed against him. These are the police witnesses and it will not be on contact with the defendant (return police officer). This same Police Officer also has another investigation of using firearm which to date has no outcome from the investigations. How can you reinstate someone without considering the seriousness of the offence against him? How is he supervising the very people that witnessed against him for committing crimes or breaching regulations and acts? 

3. Two former Officers who were suspended for buying drugs from criminals are back in Office since the Acting Administration took over. There have always been rumours and allegations about Officers involved in drugs but no effort was made for investigation. This is the first time that an order was made to investigate any cases which suspects any police officers who were involved with drugs within this Police Service, we have lots of information before but no one has the heart to order such investigation because of the corrupt Police culture. 

4. A Police Tribunal against one of the Senior Police officers for breaching police regulation was stopped by some Senior Officers within the force. 

This has been the norm over the years when allegations and investigations against Senior Officers arise and this shows how strong the Police Culture is. As a result the Tribunal cannot go ahead with the hearing and the matter has been left till it was forgotten. 

These Senior Officers think that they are above the law and this is why we need someone like the current Police Commissioner to remind them that ‘nobody is above the law’. 

As a young Officer in the Force I wish to voice my view regarding the letter from our senior Officers, which has now surfaced. While the letter to the Prime Minister presents a one sided yet biased and different opinion and view; one thing is obvious as we can see is that these Senior Officers cannot and do not accept the new changes that was brought in when the new Commissioner was selected. 

It is a pity that in this day and age, good and best practices brought in by the new Commissioner given his leadership and level of service as implemented is affecting the same Senior Officers who do not abide by the same law we impose and enforce. 

The Police corrupt Culture of covering and brushing things under the carpet is slowly and finally coming to the surface and should rightfully be exposed. Rumours against officers were investigated, allegations are investigated and many are soared of being exposed. If only the public sees the thousands of cases that Police fail to solve every year and the number of cases being completed. 

I wonder how many of these are completed on a monthly basis then and only the public will understand the poor low level of performance we have. 

Out of the whole lot, only few are completed and others are left till it’s forgotten. We need to move forward and as a Force have a professional service in terms of executing Police Duties locally and internationally. It seems to me these Senior Officers could not keep up to the work that they are suppose to do. 

The letter talks about firearms but on the other hand there are many unlawful practice documented by the Arms Section involving Senior Officers. This information’s are still available at the Arms Section unless it has been brushed under the carpet by these same Officers involved with those cases of unlawful usage of firearms. 

Promotion of about 40 Police Officers in different ranks was put on hold after being blessed by the Minister and the recommendations allowed until this group of Senior Officers took it to higher Government Politician and the promotion was cancelled. 

This promotion was conducted through proper procedures by the panel, which included two senior officers from the Police Service and one independent member. Since then, this small group of Police officer were totally against any changes made by the current Police Commissioner and their number grows every day and l think with the assistant of big boys.  

There has been no salary increase from the Force since the last ten years and this is the first Commissioner who fought to get a pay increase for the Officers. The salary adjustment that we are looking forward to is from the current police commissioner request. We have no salary increase for the past 10 years or more but I don't know why you mentioned in your letter. Proof of this can be found at the Ministry of Finance which can tell us the time that a Ministry of Police request for salary increase and who requested it. 

The letter talks about the LAPD style which our Police Force is being run. The weapons used by the Police is the same weapons that have always being used even before the new commissioner came to Office. Lives and properties were affected during raids carried out before but no one talked about it or complained about it. Why now, and what is wrong with the Commissioner trying to protect the force and the community? 

Since his appointment, when carrying out raids, there was no person fired at or properties damaged but only warning shots fired. There have been a lot of successful raids too in terms of safety and amount of drugs being seized. No casualties or loss of life since the new Commissioner yet. 

Officers felt safe too during these raids knowing they can defend themselves if things go wrong compared to how raids were done before. The using of firearms since the new commissioner was appointed is well documented and was issued according to the law. 

This letter is from the same group of Senior Officers who do not wish to accept new changes which raises the level and standard of Police in Samoa. They do not want to accept changes, which address their corrupt practices within the force.

Instead of enforcing the law, they are the very ones that hide behind it and abuse the powers they have. They don’t want changes which affects their relaxed style of investigation coming in late, abusing Police Vehicles for 8 hours and taking it home with them for personal use. They don't like the LAPD style of Police work where there is a deadline to every case they investigate and to see that cases are not stagnant. You will never find their names in Police Duties, investigations and other major Police work because majority of the work is done by the Sergeants and Juniors Officers like myself. 

They appear in the Office for two hours, get in a Police car and run errands for their family the rest of the day and even picking up their kids from school using Police car. You visit them in their Office and I doubt you will find them. 

They dislike the new changes being implemented because it affects their lazy style of work whereas they are required to work and be involved with an investigation from the beginning to the end of an investigation. They are a waste of taxpayer’s money as they are paid for 8 hours a day when in reality they work 2 hours a day. Piles of files of unsolved, incomplete cases on the desk which to date is still unsolved. 

These new changes implemented by the new Commissioner that they are against have helped fast track investigation since its implementation and have decreased the number of unsolved cases and complaints against Officers as to how they conduct their work. The Ombudsman was aware of all cases against police officers which n draw a picture of what type of police we currently have and what changes which need to put in place to solve these problems. 

We as Police Officers regardless of your rank have a duty and that is to perform to the best of our abilities. The world is changing and so are the crimes and these changes is important so that we can improve on our service. Instead of complaining of the new changes, we need to adapt to it as it helps in the improvement of our work. 

The only new changes that the suspended Police Commissioner made since he was appointed was to implement and enforce the Police Regulation, Police Service Acts, all Samoa Police Services policies, Directives, Police Guidelines and instructions that were there for many years ago before the Commissioners appointment but never being implemented. 

I think these documents were made by this same group of police officers who submit this letter. They attended to lots of workshop, meeting and conference to contribute for the drafting of these laws. 

They contributed to have these laws and guideline for the betterment of Police Service but they do not want to implement them because it will affect their normal corrupt lazy police life.  

These laws are just documents but they used their own ways which suites them and not the whole country. In my opinion whoever wants to implement these laws and regulations will always face the same problem as to what is happening now within the Police Service. The laws and regulations is there but it seems like it is just on paper and never implemented.  

These has been an ongoing Police culture for many years and no one seems to have the courage to speak out in fear of its repercussions but someone needs to break this chain or this police culture before it too late, when someone speaks out, he or she is usually: - Transfer to the police post to make him uncomfortable - No more overseas training - No promotion - Bullying 

This small group of Senor Officers need to accept the changes being implemented and do their work as they are paid to do. A lot of finger pointing is done and it will never solve the unsolved cases that we have. 

The Cabinet and the public can have-all the new policies and directive that this new Police Commissioner has made in additional to the old ones that existed before. 

And you will understand that these new directives will support the current law which guide any police officer. These directives can save cost and improve police performance. For example, don’t drink at the office or use police vehicle for personal use. But most of these senior police officers were drunk at night clubs and use police vehicle to transport them to their homes but it is very hard for us young officer to talk about. It is now happening again. 

I was reluctant to get involved in this but now l see the urge and importance of speaking out as the Public is only seeing one side of the coin. The number of police officers within our country is over 600, the senior management is less than 40 but the actual number of this small group of police officers who try to convince the majority about their personal issue is unknown. But l can tell you most police officer who are willing to work are support these new changes from this intelligent and professional Police Commissioner.

Most officers are afraid of speaking out due to how influential this small group is but I would like to remind them that the Police Force doesn't belong to them or their families. We are paid by the public so let’s not put their money to waste. Your small group start with step 1, 2 and you think that no one can stop you people from doing whatever you want to do. So who will write a letter of what you do for the past 10 or more years of your service. So please, we all human beings and we make mistake. 

This is the only job where we can buy bread and butter. No one is perfect, let us work together for the safety of our country. This type of problem will never happen to other Government Ministry because of many reasons such as education level. 

The current Police Commissioner is on suspension to face criminal charges against him. He is not at the office and the office needs to operate 24 hours and 7 days a week. You have to continue your work and wait for the outcome of the Police Commissioner’s case to answer your concerns. But as a very experience small group of police officers which understand the law and how the justice system work.

The last mention of his case gives you a signal to the outcome of his case and you bring more and more issues to brainwash the government and our people. They have outlined issues that they know will defame and affect the outcome of the case. You still not satisfy until the Police Commissioner is now in court. But are happy that you now have a high rank without being caught of what you have done many moons ago but God is watching. 

This is not the first time a lawsuit has been filed against the Police Force. Why wasn’t there any public outcry at the last lawsuit which the Samoa Police lost? Why weren't these officers writing letter seeking for a commission of Inquiry? Why wasn't there no complain against the Commissioner and how he led the Force?  

We all know that there are two sides of any complaints. The complainants side and the suspect‘s side. Your letter of concern only has you own side but what about others. I would like to see a commission of inquiry set up to investigate their claims as you requested and see at the end of the day who should be facing those criminal charges. 

Somehow we are at a crossroads and confused at whom to follow. This small group of Senior Officers should follow things by the book and do our jobs as we are paid to do. I would like to see also a Commission of Inquiry set up to fully investigate the Samoa Police including this small group of Senior Officers. 

Manuia le aso. 

 

Young Police officer

Cc: Office of the Ombudsman   

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