Police Academy plan on the move
The Ministry of Police is moving forward with plans for the proposed multimillion dollar Police Academy compound which aims to be a training hub for law enforcement across the Pacific.
The investment into this project is in partnership with the Chinese Government, the Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
In Parliament last month, a total of $158,073 was proposed to assist in the development of the Police Academy at Tafaigata. Finances are required mainly for personnel which include a project manager, a maintenance officer and a security guard, according to the proposed budget.
“The first of its kind in Samoa, the Samoa Police Academy is envisioned as a multi-agency training centre, with a view [towards] a regional centre of excellence for policing in the Pacific region," the Commissioner said.
“This Academy will not be limited to recruitment; rather [it will also include] refresher courses for the Police Officers and law enforcement training for the community, upskilling and the also the bigger picture law enforcement courses for the Pacific.
"This will be hub for law enforcement and the courses will be available to tackle the needs of the Pacific Islands.”
The Police have previously stated they hope the academy can be used to boost their recruitment numbers and making the induction process that follows becoming a Police Officer more robust.
The Commissioner said the hub will also provide training for border control agents, such as from Customs, Quarantine, the Samoa Airport Authority, the Samoa Port Authority and Immigration.
“All of the law enforcement divisions will undergo training in this Academy and so it is not just for the Police, although we will manage this programme.”
He told the Samoa Observer that Samoa has been part of the Pacific Transnational Crime Network (P.T.C.N.) since November 2007 and is among its core members.
The network takes a multi-agency law enforcement approach, consisting of Police, customs and immigration officers with close links to various other agencies.
“And therefore this academy will enhance the opportunity to have the P.T.C.N. partnering Islands host its training here, and that means it’s a boost for the economy and bringing the name of Samoa to the top level not only in the region but internationally.”
In June, the Samoa Land Corporation confirmed that eight acres have been allocated to the Ministry of Police for this project.
According to the Police, the Academy will include a sports field, running tracks, accommodations, classrooms, sports gymnasium, operational training venue and administrative building.
“The Samoa Police Service aims to open up its doors to other Government agencies to utilise the academy as a training center specifically for training and capacity development," said a statement issued by the Police.
The design specification plan for the new Samoa Police Academy Project was revealed in 2018 in Shanghai, China.
During his weekly media programme, the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, highlighted the importance of improving upon Police work.
“It is important to note that Police Officers should be the ones to lead by example and, just because you are a cop, [that] doesn’t necessarily mean you are free to do anything.”
He praised the Commissioner of Police, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, and his management team for shaping the officers into professionals.
“To date, numerous Police Officers have been sacked for wrongdoing. There is no favouritism in the Police workforce and it’s good to set a [precedent] within the Ministry to remind the Police Officers to follow the law they swore to uphold.”
Tuilaepa said the project was long overdue.