Acting Prime Minister hails police women

The work of women in the Police was highlighted during the celebration of the International Women’s Day and commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Women in the Samoa Police yesterday.

The event was held at the Taumeasina Island Resort yesterday with all of the female officers in attendance, from all of the outposts in Savaii and Upolu.

Acting Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa who was the keynote speaker acknowledged the importance of the celebration. 

“I am indeed very happy to be part of this day. I never thought that, whilst I am at the helm of leading our dear country, women in the Samoa Police Service would celebrate this memorable event. 

“With this significant event I reiterate, “E au le ina’ilau a tamaitai” simply translated, “The legacy of women is one of total achievement”. 

“Today we look back and immerse ourselves with history of where we’ve been and where we are going in our journey as women in our community,” said the Acting Prime Minister. 

The first women to enter the Police force Police in 1969, were

Katalina Ieremia-Sefilino, Shirley Theresa Fruean-Talamaivao, Tavu’i Anne Laumea, Theresa Stowers-Taefu Tavu’i, Mele Vaeau Garner, Mary McFall-Pawitt ma Anastacia Carolyn Schmidt. 

“To those who are with us today, I acknowledge their bravery for taking that first step. These women were the pioneering leaders setting the path for others to follow.” 

According to Fiame, there are 672 staff working for the Police, and of that 169 are women which are 25% of the workforce.

“The 169 women in the force, 141 are sworn staff and 28 are non-sworn staff (civilians).

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“Today, all Units of the Samoa Police consists of women staff in male dominated areas such as the Nafanua Patrol Boat - where three women are posted as seamen, K9 Unit with one female officer training as a dog handler, “Tactical Operation Section with one female officer, working alongside her male counterparts to provide backup support for Tactical operations which requires carrying of arms.

“Senior Management staff totals to 42 Commissioned and Principal Officers, 12 of whom are women or 29 percent.

“The three Executive members consist of the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and the Director of Corporate and Strategic Services. Aside from the Commissioner, the other two positions are filled by women.

“Highest Rank ever achieved by a woman in the Samoa Police is the Deputy Commissioner.

“Samoa currently holds the Chairperson role for the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police - Women Advisory Network (PICP – WAN) for a period of 1 year,” said the Acting P.M. 

Fiame said the records show the progression of women in the Samoa Police Service. 

“I applaud you all for choosing to work in this field. Policing is indeed tough and requires those with determination, dedication and willingness to carry out the mandatory functions of the Samoa Police. 

“You are called upon when problems arise and when the stability of our villages and homes are threatened. Police are called up when there is a breach to the peace of Samoa. You are expected to be calm when responding to situations that are either violent or in disarray. Our people expect professionalism, courtesy and respect at all times. You have all come this far! With that I say, congratulations and malo lava! 

She said women,  not only are expected to carry out your roles as police officers but you also have other commitments to family, village and communities. 

“Our nature in our decision making, priorities and opportunities to make a difference as women, makes us unique. 

“I urge that you continue with the significant progress in advancing gender equality, empowering women and supporting each other as equal partners who are ready, willing and able to expand your policing skills and abilities.” 

The female police officers were reminded of the importance of their role. 

“In your Oath of Office which states, “I will discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law – So Help Me God”.”

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