A lawyer and a former Assistant Police Commissioner has appealed for calm and peace within the Police.
Papali’i Taeu Masipau, who is also a former Member of Parliament, made the appeal during an interview with the Samoa Observer. He called on Police officers to put the interest of the public first.
In light of developments within the Ministry which have led to the Police Commissioner being suspended – and a separate Commission Inquiry launched into the conduct of an Acting Commissioner – Papali’i said it’s important Police officers remember their oath.
He said they are sworn to protect members of the public no matter what and they are there to uphold law and order.
Papali’i said the Police officers should read the Police Service Act and take that as their guide in difficult times like this.
He pointed out that the Police Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner roles are political appointments and the recent developments have been unfortunate.
“From what I see,” he said, “the Assistant Commissioners should concentrate on their assigned work and not look at the Commissioner’s position.
“Their priority should be doing what they were hired to do and that is maintaining the public trust and confidence by following and respecting the Police Act.”
Papali’i said judging from what’s been said and published in the media – including several ghost letters – some Police officers are wasting too much time nit-picking faults.
“It seems to me that the problem is that some people are looking at the other person’s work instead of doing their own work.
“It also appears that the rotation of the Acting Commissioner’s position has caused some distraction for some of the management.”
Papali’i said the administration of the Ministry of Police should be left to Cabinet who make the political appointments. Police officers on the other hand should do what they are there to do.
“Leave the politics to the politicians.”
Papali’i said he was particularly concerned about the impact of what’s happening on Police partners - including the Australian Federal Police who have helped Samoa in so many ways over the years.
“The partnership with the A.F.P is very important to Samoa. It started around our time when I was there,” recalled Papali’i.
“It took a lot of work to establish that relationship and our Police should respect that partnership because they have made a lot of contributions in the development of our police.
“They have donated vehicles and A.F.P. has a broader vision by offering courses and trainings for local police officers for the future of the Ministry.
“I think it’s very important that we don’t lose that relationship.”
Papali’i believes that if the Police officers focus on their own individual work and follow the Police Service Act, everything else will fall into place.
Papali’i had served in the Ministry for 27 years before he became a lawyer and a Member of Parliament.